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Archived updates for Thursday, December 01, 2005

LDCs Get TRIPS Compliance Extension

According to "Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest" on November 30, 2005, WTO Members agreed on November 29 to give least-developed countries (LDCs) a seven-and-a-half year extension to apply rules protecting patents, copyrights, and other intellectual property under the Agreement onTrade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Critics have cautioned that the extension is limited since it prohibits LDCs from loosening existing intellectual property laws unless they already go beyondTRIPS requirements.

Informal discussions between the LDCs and the US reportedly led to a compromise that would prolong the transitional period to July 1, 2013, an extension half the duration of the 15 years the LDCs had originally been seeking. This decision does not apply to pharmaceutical products, which LDCs are not required to fully protect until 2016 as a result of an extension granted to them in 2002.

The draft Ministerial Declaration text is available online at
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