Intellectual Property Rights

International Legal Research

Information about Intellectual Property Rights in free legal resources:

Treaties & Agreements

International Organizations

Jurisprudence $ Commentary

European Union

IP Law


Intellectual Property Rights


Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) protection is one of the most important and current legal issues in the international trade arena. As international trade and investment increases around the world, copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets need to be subjects of a more global perspective. The necessity for legal protection of products of the mind in the international trade and investment context from the stand point of developed countries is apparent: An English or Canadian manufacturing company is more willing to make capital investments in Singapore or Venezuela if they believe that their patented inventions and secret processes of manufacture are adequately protected from unwanted use or misappropriation; similarly, an American software producer will lay its products through Internet if there exists protection against its unauthorized copying.

Not surprisingly one of the hottest topics of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations between the Ministers of the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was the protection of IPRs. Likewise, the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Preamble reflects the concerns of the contracting countries (Canada, Mexico and the United States) about the legal protection of those very same rights when, among other issues, they resolved to: “FOSTER creativity and innovation, and promote trade in goods and services that are subject of intellectual property rights”. The European Union (EU), notwithstanding its more subtle way to deal with issue, had also addressed the necessity of harmonized rules to protect IPRs.

Some types of intellectual property are protected primarily to encourage technology innovation. In this category belongs patents, industrial designs and trade secrets. Their economic aim is to procure financing for technological research and development, through providing legal protection to products of investment in research and development activities.

In the midst of Intellectual Property Rights designed mostly to stimulate technological advancement, the law of trade secrets is getting, more than ever, international attention because of its potential to become an effective legal tool when other regimes, like patents or copyrights, are not suited to offer the satisfactory or desired protection for investors.

Trade Secrets

See more about Trade Secrets in this global legal encyclopedia. This note begins with a brief general definition of trade secrets and an overview of its diverse approaches or theories of protection. Next, there are comments on the major elements of trade secrets and some associated economics. Then, there is a cross reference to the international agreements bearing on trade secret protection and the responses of some countries. The cross reference will provide some reflections on the current worldwide stage of trade secret protection and its implications to international trade.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and the GATT Policy Negotiations

In relation to the GATT Policy Negotiations, Christopher Mark (1993) provided the following explanation and/or definition of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs): The right to possess and use intellectual property, conferred by means of patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Even though IPR laws are enacted and enforced on a strictly national basis, once a patent or copyright has been granted in one country and disclosure of an invention or creative work has been made, information technology makes it available throughout the world. As a result, cross- country differences in patent and copyright laws can result in inadequate IPR protection. In the Uruguay Round, negotiations on trade-related intellectual property rights (referred to as TRIPs) seek to balance goals of facilitating technology diffusion with the objective of promoting innovation through more effective IPR protection.

In the United States

For information about Intellectual Property Rights in the context of international trade, click here

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in International Trade

Meaning of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), according to the Dictionary of International Trade (Global Negotiator): The ownership of the right to posses or otherwise use or dispose of a product created by human work, including patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyright. Intellectual Property Rights are transmitted and sold through license agreements such as International Trademark License Agreement and International Manufacturing License Agreement.

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and the World Trade Organization

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in relation to the World Trade Organization (WTO) covers several issues.

Intellectual Property

In relation to the international law practice and intellectual property in this world legal Encyclopedia, please see the following section:

Trade, Commercial Relations, Investment, and Transportation

About this subject:

U.S. Joins Patent Law Treaty as a Contracting Party

Note: there is detailed information and resources under these topics during the year 2013, covered by this entry on intellectual property in this law Encyclopedia.

Specific Concerns of Developing Countries in Intellectual Property Rights

This section provides an overview of specific concerns of developing countries in intellectual property rights within the legal context of Intellectual Property Protection in international economic law, with coverage of The Protection of Property (Main Regulatory Areas).


Intellectual Property Rights

This entry provides an overview of the legal framework of intellectual property rights, with a description of the most significant features of intellectual property rights at international level.

Related Work and Conclusions


See Also

  • International Organization
  • Foreign Relations
  • Organization
  • United Nations
  • United Nations System
  • UN Agency


See Also

References (Papers)

  • “It’s A Trap”: Cdna Is Patent Eligible? But Is It Patentable?, Jeremy Mckinney, Aug 2017
  • Confusion Abounds Regarding Patent Eligibility Within The Biotechnology Community, Foster Dobry, Aug 2017
  • Strategies For Teaching Copyright & Fair Use In Academic Libraries, Emily Jonhson, Aug 2017
  • Brief Of Amici Curieae 56 Professors Of Law And Economics In Support Of Petition Of Writ Of Certiorari, John R. Allison, Margo Bagley, James Bessen, Jeremy Bock, Daniel H. Brean, Michael A. Carrier, Michael W. Carroll, Bernard Chao, Tun-Jen Chiang, Colleen V. Chien, Andrew Chin, Robert Cook-Deegan, Md, Rochelle Dreyfuss, Dr. Dieter Ernst, Samuel F. Ernst, Robin C. Feldman, Lee Fleming, Brian Frye, William Gallagher, Shubha Ghosh, Eric Goldman, Bronwyn H. Hall, Yaniv Heled, Christian Helmers, Joachim Henkel, Susan Helper, Tim Holbrook, Herbert Hovenkamp, William Hubbard, Dr. Xavier Jaravel, Dennis S. Karjala, Peter Lee, Mark A. Lemley, David K. Levine, David S. Levine, Doug Lichtman, Yvette Joy Liebesman, Orly Lobel, Brian Love, Phil Malone, Michael J. Meurer, Dr. Shawn Miller, Matthew Mitchell, Susan Barbieri Montgomery, Sean Pager, Arti K. Rai, Jacob H. Rooksby, Jorge R. Roig, Matthew Sag, Pamela Samuelson, Ana Santos Rutschman, Lea Bishop Shaver, Toshiko Takenaka, John L. Turner, Jennifer Urban, Eric Von Hippel, Jul 2017
  • The Right To Food And The Right To Intellectual Property In The United Nations (Including International Human Rights) And International Trade: Finding The Definition, Darinka Tomic, Jul 2017
  • Scholarly Communication: From Understanding To Engagement (2017 Nebraska Acrl Scholarly Communication Roadshow, University Of Nebraska-Lincoln), William M. Cross, Jaron Porciello, Elizabeth A. Brown, Jul 2017


Further Reading

  • Carlos M Correa, “Specific Concerns of Developing Countries in Intellectual Property Rights,” Elgar Encyclopedia of International Economic Law, Cheltenham Glos (United Kingdom), Northampton, MA (United States)


See Also

Further Reading

  • Information about Intellectual Property Rights in the Encyclopedia of World Trade: from Ancient Times to the Present (Cynthia Clark Northrup)


Intellectual Property Rights and the Laws of International Trade

Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement

Gray Market Goods


Intellectual Property Rights and the Laws of International Trade

Common antitrust/intellectual property concerns

Intellectual Property and Competition Law

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