The economic variables that had warranted the need for
regulating the movement of technology and other international business
activities, inspired several multilateral discussions over the years, and
eventually led to the formulation of Trade-Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights (hereafter referred to as TRIPS Agreement),
Incidentally, TRIPS Agreement is one element of the Uruguay Round
results, the package which also created the World Trade Organization
(WTO) . As such, it came into force with the WTO on January 1, 1995
This thesis critically examines the developing countries'
perspectives on technology transfer in the light of the Agreement and
analyses those areas which impact, either positively or negatively, on
sustainable development in those developing countries. As its main
concern, the thesis also proposes some policy actions for such
countries, which would enable them, derive as much economic benefits
as possible from the regime with the least cost possible.
It is noteworthy that, the thesis handles the TRIPS Agreement as
signed, accepting it for better or for worse as a done deal. Because the
author is not in the position to engage in lengthy discussions of the
arguments and counter arguments that preceded its formulation .
Nevertheless, appropriate highlights are given in relevant places
throughout the thesis
While it contemplates a number of possible reforms, and suggests ways
within the Agreement to interpret provisions to developing countries'
advantage, the thesis does not explore the option of outright
renunciation of the Agreement, as advocated by some groups.
The thesis therefore analyses the rules that Members of the
WTO must follow in setting up systems to protect intellectual property
rights within their borders. It also addresses the Agreement's
uniqueness among the WTO elements which makes it positively
proscriptive. That is, all other WTO rules describe what countries may
not do, while TRIPS describes what countries must do. In this context,
the thesis examines TRI PS's quality of being a manifestation of the
evolution of the international trade regime toward non-tariff aspects of
law which were formerly considered purely domestic policy.
Moreover, the thesis covers the issue of compliance period set
for the Developing country Members and Members in transition from
centrally-planned economies. In the same context it covers the issue of
longer compliance period for least developed country members in view
of their special needs and requirements.
The thesis also dwells considerably on the area where TRIPS
basically applies i.e. Intellectual property rights (IPRs). It highlights the
concept and its purpose of encouraging innovation, creativity and
Furthermore, the thesis studies intellectual property's two main
characteristics, which lend it to such special legal protection. The first is
that it tends to have high costs of development, and the second is that it
tends to have low costs of reproduction.
As one of its main areas of concern, the thesis extensively
examines the arguments and counter-arguments about IPR protection,
bringing about all views with a view of maintaining the momentum of
innovation on one hand and ensuring that developing countries'
strategic economic interests are properly served on the other.
Notwithstanding the course it takes, the thesis acknowledges that
without protection there would be less innovation, as nobody would be
willing to stump up large amounts of money to develop new products if
their inventions could be immediately copied and sold cheaply by
others. It maintains that the stronger the IPR protection, the more
money can be recouped by the innovator, and thus the more innovation
tends to occur. In the meantime, the overriding needs of the poor and
affordable access to the results of such innovation remain the key
consideration of the thesis while proposing appropriate policy actions
for the developing countries to maximally avail of the regime.
The thesis covers all such appropriate areas to the extent of their
relevance to the subject. Concepts like patents, copyrights and
trademarks are all covered in the context of developing countries
perspective or rather what is supposed to be their perspective to serve
their strategic economic interest. All these are done on assumption that
TRIPS is designed to essentially regulate technology transfer, so as to
facilitate wealth diffusion and wider economic prosperity. Accordingly,
all the proposed policy actions suggested by the thesis are within the
spirit of the TRIPS.
Moreover, the thesis analyses the costs and benefits of
international technology transfer, specifically in the areas of IPRs,
patenting and TRIPS in developing countries. Results from these
analyses suggest that developing countries should view international
technology transfer as a catalytic source of technological change, which
leads to international competitiveness and economic growth. It also
maintains that, developing countries can benefit greatly from
international technology transfers. The thesis also facilitates the
understanding of the complex environment of international trade, and
affirms that international technology transfer is necessary for both
developed and developing countries to ensure sustainability in human
What particularly distinguishes the thesis is its innovative style in
arriving at any given proposal of policy action for the advantage of the
developing countries. It uses two main styles, which are hitherto
unexplored in the literature or elsewhere, hence constitute "a
contribution to knowledge". The first style is analogical, where it seeks
to arrive at reasonable deductions from the existing TRI PS provisions,
to provide realistic suggestions for the developing countries strategic
economic interests. The second is how the developing countries could
effectively lobby and even capitalize on certain remotely relevant
factors to exert some sort of pressure on the developing countries in
order to succumb to the need of amending and/or changing some
provisions in the TRIPS itself, which are considered obstacles to
developing countries in their hope achieve maximum benefit from the