The Roles of Non-State Actors in Lawmaking within the Global Intellectual Property Regimes of WIPO and TRIPs

in International Community Law Review
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Non-State actors (NSAs), including business and industry non-governmental organizations (NGOs), lawyers’ NGOs and executives of multinational corporations, have played important roles in shaping international law regulating legal monopolies of intangible interests as intellectual property (IP) rights (IPR). The two global IPR regimes (GIPRRs), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), have emphasized protection of such interests. Civil society NGOs (CS-NGOs) have increasingly engaged with these institutions, adding new dimensions to IP discourse. This paper investigates NSA involvement in developing the concept of IP and the GIPRRs themselves and contemporary NSA participatory rights and practices in both regimes. It offers a normative analysis of the future outlook of NSA influence, including potential impacts of increasing CS-NGO participation, assimilation of UN values, and influence of the history of IPR on the development and applicability of the concept of ‘public participation’ to the GIPRRs.

The Roles of Non-State Actors in Lawmaking within the Global Intellectual Property Regimes of WIPO and TRIPs

in International Community Law Review



  • 9)

    Maysupra note 1 pp. 10–11. (Explaining 3 key justifications or narratives for property rights: (1) John Locke’s theory of “labor’s desert: the effort that is put into the improvement of nature requires it should be rewarded”; (2) in Europe Georg Hegel’s notion of property’s links with “selfhood” and the State’s role in legislating on property as part of its bargain with civil society whereby creators have inalienable moral rights over their copyrights; and (3) the “pragmatic or economic” argument that property rights increase “efficiency” and substitute for social trust-based relations thus allowing the transfer of resources in complex trade relations to form over distances and ensuring such resources carry both the benefits and related costs for their use.) See J. W. Hamilton and N. Bankes “Different Views of the Cathedral: The Literature on Property Law Theory” in A. McHarg et al. (eds.) Property and the Law in Energy and Natural Resources (2010) pp. 19–59 at 46–58.

  • 11)

    Kampelmansupra note 6 pp. 406–407.

  • 12)

    The following text relies on Johnssupra note 7 p. 20.

  • 24)

    Braithwaite and Drahossupra note 4 p. 59; May supra note 1 pp. 16–17.

  • 27)

    Braithwaite and Drahossupra note 4 p. 59.

  • 28)

    Maysupra note 1 p. 17.

  • 29)

    Kampelmansupra note 6 pp. 410–11; Braithwaite and Drahos supra note 4 p. 60; May supra note 1 p. 17.

  • 32)

    Braithwaite and Drahossupra note 4 p. 60.

  • 34)

    E.g.ibid. p. 60; May supra note 1 pp. 20–21.

  • 38)

    Maysupra note 1 p. 21.

  • 41)

    Art. II adopted by the UN GA 21 Nov. 1947entered into force 2 December 1948 at ><.

  • 42)

    Signed 19 June 1970entered into force 24 January 1978 last amended 3 October 2001 at ><. It provides a unified procedure for filing an international or PCT (patent) application. May supra note 1 p. 25.

  • 43)

    Maysupra note 1 p. 26.

  • 46)

    Braithwaite and Drahossupra note 4 pp. 61–63 & Chapter 7; Drahos supra note 3 pp. 68–73 114–120; Susan K. Sell Private Power Public Law: The Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights (2003) 1–2 Chapter 2; Christopher May The Global Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights: The New Enclosures (2010) p. 23; Sherry S. Marcellin The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents: US Sectional Interests and the African Group at the WTO (2010).

  • 47)

    Braithwaite and Drahossupra note 4 p. 61.

  • 48)

    Pratt became a member of the ACTPN in 1979. Drahos (2002) supra note 3 p. 72.

  • 49)

    Pub. L. 93–618 (1975) 88 Stat. 1978 19 U.S.C. Chapter 1 Sec. 2155 (b) (requires the ACTPN to include broad representation of key economic sectors affected by trade).

  • 50)

    Drahossupra note 3 p. 72.

  • 51)

    Braithwaite and Drahossupra note 4 p. 62 (citing Myles Getlan “TRIPs and the Future of Section 301: A Comparative Study in Trade Dispute Resolution” 34 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law (1995) 173–218).

  • 52)

    Sellsupra note 46 pp. 1–2 & n. 1 (listing the twelve corporations); Braithwaite and Drahos supra note 4 p. 61; Drahos supra note 3 p. 73 & Chapter 7.

  • 53)

    Maysupra note 1 p. 29. The Multi-Fibre Arrangement governed world trade in textiles and garments from 1974 through 2004 imposing quotas on the amount developing countries could export to developed countries.

  • 55)

    Maysupra note 1 p. 32.

  • 57)

    WIPO Convention Art. 3supra note 40. “Unions” is defined as “the Paris Union the Special Unions and Agreements established in relation with that Union the Berne Union and any other international agreement designed to promote the protection of intellectual property whose administration is assumed by the Organization according to Article 4(iii).” Ibid. Art. 2(vii).

  • 75)

    Volgersupra note 37 p. 865.

  • 82)

    WTO“Guidelines” supra note 81 paras. III–IV.

  • 85)

    WTO“Guidelines,” supra note 81 para. IV.

  • 89)

    Bosschesupra note 79 p. 154. The original participating NGOs are: Consumers International Consumer Unity and Trust Society International Federation of Agricultural Producers World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International Third World Network Christian Aid International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Public Services International International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development and International Institute for Trade and Sustainable Development. This was perhaps inspired by the early bilateral relationships and ‘Arria formula’ meetings NGOs developed with the UN Security Council. These have grown into the semi-public ‘NGO Working Group on the Security Council’ that has even granted individual NGO representatives observer presence at Security Council meetings along with lobbying and advocacy opportunities with UN officials. See Barbara K. Woodward Global Civil Society in International Lawmaking and Global Governance: Theory and Practice (2010) pp. 256–57; James A. Paul “NGOs and the Security Council” Global Policy Forum 2004 at ><.

  • 92)

    Woodwardsupra note 89 p. 372.

  • 95)

    Mistelis (2005) pp. 185–86; Woodward ibid.

  • 98)

    See e.g. Woodwardsupra note 89; Ingrid Rossi Legal Status of Non-Governmental Organizations in International Law (2010).

  • 101)

    Kawharusupra note 101 p. 166.

  • 105)

    See e.g. Debora Halbert“Globalized Resistance to Intellectual Property,” Copy/South (2009) at >< (analysing two prongs of resistance: reform by critique of TRIPS language and by the search for an alternative).

  • 120)

    Maysupra note 1 pp. 45–48.

  • 123)

    Braithwaite and Drahossupra note 4 p. 79; Moniz supra note 4.

  • 138)

    Maysupra note 1 p. 160.

  • 141)

    See Monizsupra note 4.

  • 142)

    E.g. Stiglitzsupra note 3; Drahos supra note 3.

  • 143)

    Maysupra note 1 p. 73. Developed States have found these standards inadequate and persuaded developing States to enter into so-called ‘TRIPs-plus’ bilateral treaties with even stronger IP protections.

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