International conventions play an important role in the protection of intellectual property rights, in particular those drafted under the aegis of WIPO and WTO.
- World Intellectual Property Organisation – WIPO
WIPO's foremost objective is to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world, in particular by encouraging the conclusion of new international treaties and the modernisation of international legislation. Its International Bureau in Geneva acts as the organization's general secretariat and supervises the administration of treaties that are concluded under its aegis.
- Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
Concluded on March 20th 1883 and last revised in 1967 in Stockholm, the Paris Convention lays the foundations for international industrial property by giving the holder of an invention, trademark, model or other intellectual property rights substantial protection against counterfeiting, imitation and other forms of misappropriation.
- Madrid System Concerning the International Registration of Marks
The Madrid System Concerning the International Registration of Marks comprises two separate treaties : the Madrid Agreement (1967) and the Madrid Protocol (1989). Under its terms, a national of one of the contracting countries is guaranteed protection of their trademark in the other contracting countries. Registration of a trademark under the Agreement or the Protocol is said to be international as each registration is valid in several countries.
Other instruments include :
- The Trademark Law Treaty (1994).
- The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs.
- The Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indication of Source on Goods.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Including Trade in Counterfeit Goods (TRIPS). The TRIPS agreement, which came into effect in 1995, is one of the annexes to the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. Its two fundamental objectives are to :
- promote effective and adequate protection of intellectual property rights (the absence of which constitutesa distortion and impediment to international trade), by establishing minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property, and by obliging Members to effectively implement these minimum standards;
- ensure that measures and procedures to enforce intellectual property rights do not themselves become barriers to legitimate trade.