Some areas are not covered by these agreements. In some cases, the prescribed standards of protection were found to be insufficient. The TRIPS agreement therefore significantly complements existing international standards. The TRIPS agreement is the only international agreement that details respect for intellectual property rights, including rules on evidence, interim measures, compensation measures and other sanctions. It states that courts must, under certain conditions, have the right to order the disposal or destruction of property that violates intellectual property rights. Intentional infringement or commercial-scale copyright piracy must be punishable. Governments must also ensure that IP rights holders are provided with assistance from customs authorities to prevent the importation of counterfeit and illegally manufactured goods. The second part of the ON TRIPS agreement deals with different types of intellectual property rights and their protection. The aim is to ensure that minimum standards of protection are organised in all WTO members. The starting point is the obligations of the main international agreements of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that existed before the creation of the WTO: the TRIPS agreement is a minimum standard agreement that allows members to more broadly protect intellectual property on their application.
Members are free to determine the appropriate method of transposing the provisions of the agreement into their own legal and practical order. Despite the Doha Declaration, many developing countries have been under pressure in recent years to adopt or implement even stricter or more restrictive conditions in their patent laws than those under the TRIPS agreement – these provisions are called “TRIPS plus.” Countries are not required to do so under international law, but many countries, such as Brazil, China or Central America, have had no choice but to adopt them under trade agreements with the United States or the European Union. These have disastrous effects on access to medicines. While the WTO agreements came into force on 1 January 1995, the TRIPS agreement granted WTO members certain transitional periods before they were required to implement all their provisions. Members of developed countries were given one year to ensure that their laws and practices complied with the TRIPS Agreement. Members of developing countries and, under certain conditions, the transitional economy enjoyed a five-year period until the year 2000. The least developed countries were first 11 years old, until 2006 – now they are generally extended until July 1, 2021. As in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the starting point of the ON-TRIPS agreement is the basic principle.
As in the other two agreements, non-discrimination plays a major role: national treatment (which does not treat foreigners less favourably than its own nationals) and the MFN (non-discriminatory among nationals of trading partners).