The general objectives of the ON TRIPS agreement are contained in the preamble to the agreement, which echoes the fundamental negotiating objectives of the Uruguay Round, set in the TRIPS zone by the 1986 Punta del Este Declaration and the 1988/89 mid-term review. These objectives include reducing distortions and barriers to international trade, promoting effective and adequate protection of intellectual property rights, and ensuring that measures and procedures to enforce intellectual property rights do not themselves become barriers to legitimate trade. These objectives should be understood in conjunction with Article 7 Objectives, under which the protection and implementation of intellectual property rights should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual benefit of producers and users of technological knowledge, and in a way that promotes social and economic well-being, and to the balance of rights and obligations. Article 8, entitled “Principles,” recognizes the right of members to take action for public health and other public interest reasons and to prevent abuses of intellectual property rights, provided these measures are consistent with the provisions of the TRIPS agreement. Article 40 of the TRIPS ON Agreement recognizes that certain practices or licensing conditions related to intellectual property rights that limit competition can have negative effects on trade and impede the transfer and dissemination of technology (paragraph 1). Member States may adopt appropriate measures under the other provisions of the agreement to prevent or control abusive and anti-competitive intellectual property licensing practices (paragraph 2). The agreement provides for a mechanism by which a country intending to take action against such practices involving companies in another Member State will consult with that other Member State and exchange non-confidential information relevant to the public for the issue in question and other information available to that member, subject to domestic law and the conclusion of satisfactory agreements for both parties regarding the applicant`s compliance with its confidentiality (paragraph 3). Similarly, a country whose companies in another Member State are subject to such measures may engage in consultations with that member (point 4). With the TRIPS agreement, intellectual property rights have been integrated into the multilateral trading system for the first time and remains the most comprehensive multilateral IP agreement to date.
In 2001, developing countries, fearing that developed countries had insisted on too narrow a reading of the TRIPS trip, launched a series of discussions that culminated in the Doha Declaration. The Doha Declaration is a WTO DECLARATION that clarifies the scope of the TRIPS agreement, which states, for example, that TRIPS can and should be interpreted in light of the objective of “promoting access to medicines for all”. The 2002 Doha Declaration confirmed that the TRIPS agreement should not prevent members from taking the necessary steps to protect public health.