Do the minimum rules or standards for intellectual property protection differ between developed and least developed countries?

The general agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) recognize that developing and least developed countries are disadvantaged in international trade to the effect that the Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) arrangement as incorporated in the aforestated agreements stands as a fundamental principle of the said two organizations. Again, under the earlier Paris Convention each country is obliged to provide intellectual property protection no worse that its own to other members of the Convention. By demanding a similar level of protection for all countries, the TRIPS Agreement no longer permits countries to elect the level of intellectual property protection in line with the level of each country economic development The Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement does not incorporate similar provisions. It is devoid of significant differences in the rules applicable to developing and least developed countries in contrast to developed countries. It is a type of an international agreement structured on the basis of ‘ one size fits all” as regards the minimum rules for intellectual property protection. Nonetheless, the timing of implementation of the rules differs as regards developing and least developed countries through provisions of longer transition periods.

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