Susan Sell

Forum shifting, both horizontal (across multilateral organizations), and vertical (from multilateral to plurilateral to regional to bilateral), has profoundly shaped rule making and norm-setting in intellectual property policy. The vertical shifts largely have been top-down affairs, in which stronger parties have exploited asymmetrical power relationships to demand TRIPS-Plus standards. Yet implementation is a domestic matter and TRIPS allows countries significant flexibilities in implementing their intellectual property policies. This session will focus on domestic institutional innovation in implementation in emerging economies, best practices for maintaining flexibilities, and the potential for possible counter-regime regional agreements. India’s section 3(d) of its patents act is an excellent example of TRIPS-compliant implementation. The Philippines has adopted this provision into its own laws. A WTO panel recently underscored China’s significant amount of discretion in implementing its copyright enforcement policies. Mexico’s initial push back on ACTA is also worth noting. Participants should come prepared to discuss the prospects for vertical forum shifting from the bottom up, and the potential to disseminate best practices for maintaining policy space horizontally among developing and emerging countries.