Non-Violation Complaints in Intellectual Property Disputes in the WTO

Author:
Matthew Kennedy

Abstract:
WTO Members have agreed many times not to file non-violation and situation complaints under the TRIPS Agreement, most recently in a Ministerial Decision adopted in Buenos Aires in December 2017. The ongoing dispute in Australia - Tobacco Plain Packaging is just the type of case where that Decision is intended to avoid non-violation claims. Even so, nothing prevented the complainants in that case from filing non-violation claims under Australia’s tariff concessions on cigars and cigarettes. Drawing on that example, this article explores the scope for non-violation claims in intellectual property disputes as it emerges from the relationship between GATT 1994 and TRIPS. It concludes that nonviolation claims have always been available in intellectual property disputes when filed under WTO Members’ individual concessions and commitments, although they would be difficult to prove. However, if a Member presented such a claim under TRIPS itself after the expiry of the current Ministerial Decision, a panel could find that it disclosed no valid cause of action.

Index:
1. INTRODUCCIÓN.—2. LA NATURALEZA DE LAS RECLAMACIONES SIN INFRACCIÓN Y LAS RECLAMACIONES POR OTRA SITUACIÓN.—3. LAS RECLAMACIONES SIN INFRACCIÓN EN EL MARCO DEL ADPIC.—3.1. El origen del debate.—3.2. Debate en el Consejo de los ADPIC.—3.3. El sistema de licencias obligatorias del párr. 6.—3.4. La solución de diferencias relativas a la propiedad intelectual.—4. TRATAMIENTO DE LAS RECLAMACIONES SIN INFRACCIÓN.—4.1. Tratamiento en el ámbito de las concesiones individuales.—4.2. Tratamiento en el ámbito del ADPIC mismo.—4.2.1. Cuestión preliminar.— 4.2.2. Examen de fondo.—5. CONCLUSIÓN.

Keywords:
dispute settlement.; intellectual property; international economic law; non-violation; TRIPS; WTO;

Issue:
REDI Vol. 71 2 2019

Section:
Studies

Pages:
125-143

DOI:
http://dx.doi.org/10.17103/redi.71.2.2019.1.05

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