Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



I am going to talk about LDCs intellectual property rights and the GATT. I do not think I need to talk too much on this, because Dr. Subramanian made an excellent presentation on the main issues yesterday. I will try to present the debate along the so-called North-South divide, and this is, of course, an oversimplification. I will be talking about the North proposal, which is basically the American proposal. It is a maximalist proposal, although parts of it are supported by other industrialized countries. The South proposals are basically the proposals of the foot draggers like Brazil and India, which, of course, are also maximalist proposals on the other extreme of the spectrum. So this is a simplification to frame the debate.

Let's begin with intellectual property rights in the GATT. As you know, intellectual property rights are addressed by the General Agreement. Several articles make reference, as Dr. Subramanian mentioned yesterday: article 9, Marks of Origin, and article 20, which includes intellectual property rights as a part of the general exceptions. But as you know, the degree of coverage was, to say the least, poor.

During the Tokyo Round, there was an attempt by the United States to draft a kind of anti-counterfeit code. This attempt failed, however, to achieve a consensus, so it did not even appear in the final declaration of the Tokyo Round, although it was able to garner growing support from other industrialized countries.