Suspending TRIPS Obligations – the Little Guy’s Nuclear Option


Astounding in its simplicity, shocking in its consequences, the Center [sic] for International Environmental Law has recently held a workshop in Geneva on SUSPENDING IP OBLIGATIONS UNDER TRIPS: A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE TO ENFORCE PREVAILING WTO RULINGS? They have also released a paper on the subject.

While the theory is untested, given the extraordinary influence that such interests have in trade negotiations the likely effectiveness of such an approach in securing WTO compilance is dumbfounding, creating a sort of IP ju-jitsu move on big countries for whom IP is important but who are heavily into agricultural subsidies. In the extreme it can create a direct internal tension between various political constituencies in the target country affecting the negotiating position of the target country in future trade rounds.  Once this has been established as a precedent it will cause even more trouble for countries with agricultural subsidies – as a breach based on subsidies is generic in its effect and will presumably entitle multiple aggrieved third party countries to take similar retaliatory action.

Hat tip to Shane Coughlan.

2 Responses to “Suspending TRIPS Obligations – the Little Guy’s Nuclear Option”


  1. 1 etbe 10 May 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Could you please write a longer article explaining this with background information? Or link to such a post if someone else has written a good one?

    I expect that I’m not the only one of your readers who lacks the background information to understand this post.

  2. 2 DjHackenmyer 1 January 2009 at 8:11 am

    What a brilliantly simple mechanism to redress the US and EUs imposition on developing countries. This should effectively reduce the Us’s bullying of smaller nations. Bravo!


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