The future of Intellectual Property Rights. A gLAWcal comment on Jayashree Watal "Public Health, Intellectual Property Rights, and Developing Countries’ Access to Medicines"

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and its protections are one of the greatest considerations of non-trade concerns (NTCs) for many developed nations. There is broad recognition that some nations provide greater consideration and protection for IPRs. When research, manufacturing, and consumption of products were limited to one jurisdiction, it provided somewhat of an even playing field even if different nations treated IPRs differently. In the last many decades, there has been ever increasing globalization of the supply chain from research, manufacture, and consumption of products that could be considered in part as IPRs. Here is where the breakdown and conflict arises. If a nation whose company produces research protected by IPRs outsources their manufacturing process to a nation that has less-stringent regulation and protection of IPRs, a level of resentment for affording the manufacturing processes to this second nation will begin to arise. These resentments will be funnel up to central government of the first nation, complicating diplomatic efforts between these two nations in conflicting opinion about how much they must protect IPRs. These NTCs are often displayed in trade negotiations, famously in the mid-2010s Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that hinged heavily on the participation of the US, if China and other Asian nations played ball with their requirements to stay true to TRIPS agreements on the subject. Because of political forces within the US, there was no participation in the final agreement, but this disparity in upholding the IPRs across the many member nations.