Cultural diversity

Publications and Studies

"Violations of intellectual property rights or violations of cultural diversity? " - Strategy for the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries

European Commission - Directorate General For Trade, Brussels, 23 June 2004 - 2004/06/23

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) lays down a series of provisions governing all aspects of intellectual property. An entire chapter of TRIPs is devoted to minimum standards of intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement to be adopted by WTO members, most of which have now adopted legislation implementing such standards. Despite the agreement, levels of piracy and counterfeiting continue to increase each year and have assumed industrial proportions because they offer considerable profits with often limited risk for perpetrators, who deprive right holders of proper compensation. Such is the situation described in this report by Mr. Paul Vandoren, Head of the IPR Unit of the European Commission Directorate General for Trade. His solution is a strategic plan aimed at strengthening these rights in developing countries. Mr. Vandoren’s strategy involves the cooperation of various Commission services, member states, and developing countries. It includes the development of concrete work methods and a description of tools available to the Commission. However,, the success of this plan depends on the unconditional support of the highest authorities, who must implement it. The plan is divided into eight priority areas: identification of priority countries; inclusion of  IPR mechanisms in multilateral, regional, and bilateral agreements; clarification of the importance of effective IP protection to trading partners; technical cooperation; dispute settlement mechanisms and sanctions; establishment of public-private partnerships to support creativity and innovation; awareness; and institutional cooperation. Observers maintain that “acknowledging and supporting intellectual property is powerful tool for advancing cultural diversity.” [69] (Available in English only)