A comprehensive Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is annexed to the WTO convention. The objectives, set out in the introduction to the Agreement, are essentially aimed at strengthening and harmonizing certain aspects of the protection of intellectual property at the global level.
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (hereinafter the Agreement) covers both categories of intellectual property: literary and artistic property (copyright and neighbouring rights) and industrial property (trademarks*, patents*, geographical indications, industrial designs, and trade secrets).
These objectives are to be realized in two ways: firstly, the Agreement requires Member States to ensure minimum standards of protection for the various rights, leaving them the choice of how they achieve this. Secondly, WTO Members must make available procedures and remedies to permit the effective enforcement of IPRs by right holders (Part III of the Agreement, not discussed in this document). The minimum standards of protection are based on the basic provisions of the principal international conventions in force (Paris 1883 and Bern 1886, as revised) administered by WIPO, with which the TRIPS Agreement will coexist without taking their place. In all the areas it covers, the Agreement provides for the application of the principle of national treatment and of most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment. The interests of developing countries are explicitly taken into account.
This Agreement, and particularly the section on patents, is probably the element of the Final Act of the Uruguay Round that will have the most important repercussions in the field of public health, especially for access to drugs in developing countries.