baker-croppedOver 130 academics from around the world have signed a letter supporting the unconditional extension of the transition period within which least development country Members of the WTO must become fully compliant with the TRIPS Agreement until any such country ceases to be a least developed country.

The letter articulates 10 reasons supporting the proposed extension, many drawn directly from the language of Article 66.1 itself.

LDCs are locked in tense negotiations with other WTO Members at this time concerning the proposed extension and the EU and United States are reported to be taking the position that IPRs are good for development, that the extension must be time limited to 5 – 7-1/2 years, that it must preserve a requirement that LDCs maintain current levels of IP protection, and that they must use the transition period primarily to become TRIPS compliant rather than using it to develop their technological base and overcome capacity constraints.  The academics condemn this reasoning, arguing that granting the requested extension is mandatory once properly motivated, that Article 66.1 authorizes no conditions on extensions, and that the whole purpose of the transition period was to allow countries to eschew IP protections in order to develop their technological base and related capacities.

Global Academics’ Expert Letter on LDC Extension