TRIPS Law and Legal Definition

The Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights(TRIPS) Agreement came into effect on 1 January 1995. The TRIPS agreement was negotiated in the 1986-94 Uruguay round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Summit and is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property.

The agreement covers a wide array of intellectual property including copyright and related rights, trademarks including service marks; geographical indications including appellations of origin, industrial designs, patents, the layout-designs of integrated circuits, and undisclosed information including trade secrets and test data. The Agreement sets out the minimum standards of protection to be provided by each Member and defines each of the main elements of protection. Generally, this includes the subject-matter to be protected, the rights to be conferred and permissible exceptions to those rights, and also the minimum duration of protection. The Agreement also formulated certain general principles applicable to all IPR enforcement procedures and contains provisions on civil and administrative procedures and remedies, provisional measures, special requirements related to border measures and criminal procedures. Further, the Agreement makes disputes between WTO Members regarding the TRIPS obligations subject to the WTO's dispute settlement procedures.

The Agreement requires members to comply with certain minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property rights. However, members have the freedom to implement laws which provide more extensive protection than is required in the agreement, so long as the additional protection does not contravene the provisions of the agreement.