World Intellectual Property Organization - agency of the UN


WIPO usually attempts to reach decisions by consensus, but in any vote, each Member State is entitled to one vote, regardless of population or contribution to the funding. This is important, because there is a significant North-South divide in the politics of intellectual property. During the 1960s and 1970s, developing nations were able to block expansions to intellectual property treaties, such as universal pharmaceutical (Phar Ma) Patent-s which might have occurred through WIPO. In the 1980s, this led to the United States and other developed countries "forum shifting" intellectual property standard-setting out of WIPO and into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which later evolved into the World Trade Organization (WTO), where the North had greater control of the agenda. This strategy paid dividends with the enactment of Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

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