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The Statute of Monopolies (1624) and the British Statute of Anne (1710) are seen as the origins of patent law and copyright respectively,firmly establishing the concept of intellectual property. "Literary property" was the term predominantly used in the British legal debates of the 1760s and 1770s over the extent to which authors and publishers of works also had rights deriving from the common law of property (Millar v Taylor (1769), Hinton v Donaldson (1773), Donaldson v Becket (1774)). The first known use of the term intellectual property dates to this time, when a piece published in the Monthly Review in 1769 used the phrase.The first clear example of modern usage goes back as early as 1808, when it was used as a heading title in a collection of essays. The German equivalent was used with the founding of the North German Confederation whose constitution granted legislative power over the protection of intellectual property (Schutz des geistigen Eigentums) to the confederation. Wh...
Intellectual property rights include patents, copyright, industrial design rights, trademarks, plant variety rights, trade dress, geographical indications, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets. There are also more specialized or derived varieties of sui generis exclusive rights, such as circuit design rights (called mask work rights in the US), supplementary protection certificates for pharmaceutical products (after expiry of a patent protecting them), and database rights (in European law). The term "industrial property" is sometimes used to refer to a large subset of intellectual property rights including patents, trademarks, industrial designs, utility models, service marks, trade names, and geographical indications.
The main purpose of intellectual property law is to encourage the creation of a wide variety of intellectual goods for consumers. To achieve this, the law gives people and businesses property rights to the information and intellectual goods they create, usually for a limited period of time. Because they can then profit from them, this gives economic incentive for their creation.The intangible nature of intellectual property presents difficulties when compared with traditional property like land or goods. Unlike traditional property, intellectual property is indivisible – an unlimited number of people can "consume" an intellectual good without it being depleted. Additionally, investments in intellectual goods suffer from problems of appropriation – while a landowner can surround their land with a robust fence and hire armed guards to protect it, a producer of information or an intellectual good can usually do very little to stop their first buyer from replicating it and selling it at...
Violation of intellectual property rights, called "infringement" with respect to patents, copyright, and trademarks, and "misappropriation" with respect to trade secrets, may be a breach of civil law or criminal law, depending on the type of intellectual property involved, jurisdiction, and the nature of the action. As of 2011 trade in counterfeit copyrighted and trademarked works was a $600 billion industry worldwide and accounted for 5–7% of global trade.
The term "intellectual property"
Criticism of the term intellectual property ranges from discussing its vagueness and abstract overreach to direct contention to the semantic validity of using words like property and rightsin fashions that contradict practice and law. Many detractors think this term specially serves the doctrinal agenda of parties opposing reform in the public interest or otherwise abusing related legislations, and that it disallows intelligent discussion about specific and often unrelated aspects of copyrigh...
Objections to overly broad intellectual property laws
Some critics of intellectual property, such as those in the free culture movement, point at intellectual monopolies as harming health (in the case of pharmaceutical patents), preventing progress, and benefiting concentrated interests to the detriment of the masses, and argue that the public interest is harmed by ever-expansive monopolies in the form of copyright extensions, software patents, and business method patents. More recently scientists and engineers are expressing concern that patent...
Objections to the expansion in nature and scope of intellectual property laws
Other criticism of intellectual property law concerns the expansion of intellectual property, both in duration and in scope. As scientific knowledge has expanded and allowed new industries to arise in fields such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, originators of technology have sought IP protection for the new technologies. Patents have been granted for living organisms, and in the United States, certain living organismshave been patentable for over a century. The increase in terms of prote...The European Audiovisual Observatory hosts articles on copyright legislature and covers media laws in their newsletter
Singapore (/ ˈ s ɪ ŋ (ɡ) ə p ɔːr / (listen)), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia.It lies about one degree of latitude (137 kilometres or 85 miles) north of the equator, off the ...
- Principles of The Trading System
- Organizational Structure
- Dispute Settlement
- Accession and Membership
- Office of Director-General
The WTO precursor General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established by a multilateral treaty of 23 countries in 1947 after World War II in the wake of other new multilateral institutions dedicated to international economic cooperation—such as the World Bank (founded 1944) and the International Monetary Fund (founded 1944 or 1945). A comparable international institution for trade, named the International Trade Organization never started as the U.S. and other signatories did not ratify the establishment treaty, and so GATT slowly became a de factointernational organization.
Among the various functions of the WTO, these are regarded by analysts as the most important: 1. It oversees the implementation, administration and operation of the covered agreements (with the exception is that it does not enforce any agreements when China came into the WTO in Dec 2001) 2. It provides a forum for negotiations and for settling disputes. Additionally, it is WTO's duty to review and propagate the national trade policies and to ensure the coherence and transparency of trade policies through surveillance in global economic policy-making. Another priority of the WTO is the assistance of developing, least-developed and low-income countries in transition to adjust to WTO rules and disciplines through technical cooperation and training. 1. The WTO shall facilitate the implementation, administration, and operation and further the objectives of this Agreement and the Multilateral Trade Agreements, and shall also provide the framework for the implementation, administration, an...
The WTO establishes a framework for trade policies; it does not define or specify outcomes. That is, it is concerned with setting the rules of "trade policy." Five principles are of particular importance in understanding both the pre-1994 GATT and the WTO: 1. Non-discrimination. It has two major components: the most favored nation (MFN) rule and the national treatment policy. Both are embedded in the main WTO rules on goods, services, and intellectual property, but their precise scope and nature differ across these areas. The MFN rule requires that a WTO member must apply the same conditions on all trade with other WTO members, i.e., a WTO member has to grant the most favorable conditions under which it allows trade in a certain product type to all other WTO members. "Grant someone a special favor and you have to do the same for all other WTO members." National treatment means that imported goods should be treated no less favorably than domestically produced goods (at least after th...
The highest authority of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which must meet at least every two years. In between each Ministerial Conference, the daily work is handled by three bodies whose membership is the same; they only differ by the terms of reference under which each body is constituted. 1. The General Council 2. The Dispute Settlement Body 3. The Trade Policy Review Body The General Council, whose Chair as of 2020 is David Walker of New Zealand,has the following subsidiary bodies which oversee committees in different areas: Council for Trade in Goods 1. There are 11 committees under the jurisdiction of the Goods Council each with a specific task. All members of the WTO participate in the committees. The Textiles Monitoring Body is separate from the other committees but still under the jurisdiction of the Goods Council. The body has its chairman and only 10 members. The body also has several groups relating to textiles. Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Pro...
The WTO describes itself as "a rules-based, member-driven organization—all decisions are made by the member governments, and the rules are the outcome of negotiations among members".The WTO Agreement foresees votes where consensus cannot be reached, but the practice of consensus dominates the process of decision-making. Richard Harold Steinberg (2002) argues that although the WTO's consensus governance model provides law-based initial bargaining, trading rounds close through power-based bargaining favoring Europe and the U.S., and may not lead to Pareto improvement.
The WTO's dispute-settlement system "is the result of the evolution of rules, procedures and practices developed over almost half a century under the GATT 1947". In 1994, the WTO members agreed on the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU) annexed to the "Final Act" signed in Marrakesh in 1994. Dispute settlement is regarded by the WTO as the central pillar of the multilateral trading system, and as a "unique contribution to the stability of the global economy".WTO members have agreed that, if they believe fellow-members are violating trade rules, they will use the multilateral system of settling disputes instead of taking action unilaterally. The operation of the WTO dispute settlement process involves case-specific panels appointed by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), the Appellate Body, The Director-General and the WTO Secretariat, arbitrators,and advisory experts. The priority is to settle disputes, preferably through a mutually agreed...
The process of becoming a WTO member is unique to each applicant country, and the terms of accession are dependent upon the country's stage of economic development and the current trade regime. The process takes about five years, on average, but it can last longer if the country is less than fully committed to the process or if political issues interfere. The shortest accession negotiation was that of the Kyrgyz Republic, while the longest was that of Russia, which, having first applied to join GATT in 1993, was approved for membership in December 2011 and became a WTO member on 22 August 2012. Kazakhstan also had a long accession negotiation process. The Working Party on the Accession of Kazakhstan was established in 1996 and was approved for membership in 2015. The second longest was that of Vanuatu, whose Working Party on the Accession of Vanuatu was established on 11 July 1995. After a final meeting of the Working Party in October 2001, Vanuatu requested more time to consider it...
The WTO oversees about 60 different agreements which have the status of international legal texts. Member countries must sign and ratify all WTO agreements on accession.A discussion of some of the most important agreements follows. The Agreement on Agriculture came into effect with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995. The AoA has three central concepts, or "pillars": domestic support, market access and export subsidies. The General Agreement on Trade in Services was created to extend the multilateral trading system to service sector, in the same way as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provided such a system for merchandise trade. The agreement entered into force in January 1995. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rightssets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation. It was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994. The Agr...
The procedures for the appointment of the WTO director-general were updated in January 2003, and include quadrennial terms. Additionally, there are four deputy directors-general. As of 13 June 2018[update] under director-general Roberto Azevêdo, the four deputy directors-general are: 1. Yi Xiaozhunof China (since 1 October 2017), 2. Karl Braunerof Germany (since 1 October 2013), 3. Yonov Frederick Agahof Nigeria (since 1 October 2013) and 4. Alan W. Wolffof the United States (since 1 October 2017).
The WTO derives most of the income for its annual budget from contributions by its Members. These are established according to a formula based on their share of international trade.