AM Panels & Technical Sessions 2009 START Conference Manager    

Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights: Implications of the TRIPS Agreement for Access to HIV/AIDS Drugs in Africa

John Agada, John Gathegi, Johannes Britz and Peter Lohr

(Submission #49)


The emergence of a global knowledge society has facilitated the blurring of national borders, and thrust to the fore issues of the globalization of intellectual property (IP) regimes. The origins of globalized IP regimes may be traced to the economic downturn of the 1970s and 1980s which heightened power asymmetries between the industrialized and developing countries (Sell, 1998). Although both groups were adversely affected by the economic crisis, the developing countries were rendered more vulnerable due to their debt burdens. These countries therefore adopted economic reform policies prescribed by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and western creditor nations such as the U.S. Economic reform policies called for open markets, liberal trade and investment, private public sector enterprises, and greater protection for IP rights, among others. Touted as the only road to economic recovery and national development, these market reforms promoted the integration of developing economies into the global economy (Kiggundu, 2002, Sell, 1998). 

This paper outlines the evolution of globalized IP regimes, and the factors which influence their interpretation and enforcement across the globe. In particular, it examines the challenges of African nations seeking to provide affordable access to HIV/AIDS medication for their populations within the framework of their patent protection obligations in the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Agreement of 1995. The South African experience will be examined to illustrate the influence of international and domestic interests and agents in constraining or facilitating development of appropriate policy and legal instruments to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic.


SIG SPONSORSHIP?: Information Policy (IFP),International Information Issues (III)


START Conference Manager (V2.54.6)