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Summary and Conclusion

This chapter has considered various non-country-specific factors which may have an impact on compliance with the TRIPS Agreement. Of these factors, arguably the most significant are the perceived inequity and imprecision of the obligations contained within the TRIPS Agreement. These factors arose due to the drafting history of the Agreement and the nature of TRIPS as a minimum standards agreement. Other factors related to characteristics of the TRIPS Agreement specifically include the burden of notification obligations that members must fulfil and the lack of sufficient incentives in the form of technology and cooperation from developed country members. On the other hand, the TRIPS Agreement does have several features that may have a positive effect by encouraging compliance. These include the broad role of the Council for TRIPS and the role of the WTO dispute resolution body as a multilateral forum for resolving disputes and imposing sanctions.

With regards to the characteristics of the activity that the TRIPS Agreement aims to confront, namely the problem of intellectual property infringements, and the international environment surrounding the issue of IP protection, there are also several factors which may affect compliance. The most significant of these are the large number of actors and countries involved in IP infringements; piracy is a global activity, which makes it difficult to combat. In addition, many infringers are encouraged by short-term economic gains from IP infringements. Other factors which may have a smaller adverse effect on compliance include the lack of consensus in public opinion worldwide on the subject of IP protection and a certain amount of resentment towards MNCs and international IP organisations based in powerful developed countries for the pressure they impose for stronger IP protection.

However, as with the characteristics of the TRIPS Agreement, the international environment and characteristics of the activity of IP infringements may also have a positive impact on compliance. Specifically, the role of international organisations such as WIPO and the large number of countries which are now included in the WTO system may both entice countries to comply with the TRIPS Agreement. Having examined factors relating to the TRIPS Agreement in general, the next chapter (Chap. 4) will focus on outlining the research methods used to assess China’s compliance with the TRIPS Agreement specifically.

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