International Development Law Organization

Praise for Poor Countries' Intellectual Property Waiver

IDLO welcomes the decision by the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Council to push back to July 2021 a deadline for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to meet their Intellectual Property obligations.

The TRIPS Agreement sets minimum standards of protection for Intellectual Property Rights, to which all WTO members countries must adhere. However, these standards may prove too stringent for the world’s poorest nations. These nations often lack the human and financial resources, institutional capacity, and expertise needed to ensure IP protection and enforcement at the required level.

The 8-year waiver extension removes the prospect of heavy sanctions against LDCs over poor compliance. The move is especially welcome in relation to pharmaceutical patents.