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close this bookPharmaceuticals and the WTO TRIPS Agreement: Questions and answers (UNAIDS - WHO/EDM, 2000, 5 p.)
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentWhat is TRIPS?
View the documentWhat will change with TRIPS?
View the documentWhen does TRIPS apply?
View the documentWhich drugs will be affected by the new patent rules?
View the documentWhat are developing countries' obligations under TRIPS?
View the documentFurther reading

When does TRIPS apply?

It is only in regard to transitional periods that the TRIPS Agreement takes into consideration Member States' different levels of economic development. Developed countries were given until 1996 to comply with TRIPS standards by modifying their patent law if necessary, developing countries had until 2000, and least-developed countries have until 2006 (with possible renewal). The transition periods were provided to developing and least-developed countries to give them enough time to implement the various TRIPS standards on intellectual property rights (copyrights, trademarks, patents, etc) at national level.

However, as patents were not available for any pharmaceutical products in some developing countries in the pre-TRIPS era, a supplementary transitional period is allowed for countries still not granting patents for pharmaceutical products when the WTO came into force in 1995. This 5-year supplementary period means that the developing countries affected do not have to grant pharmaceutical products patents before 2005, unless they decide to revise their patent law before then.