TRIPS agreement and economic development: implications and challenges for least-developed countries like Bangladesh

Mohammad Towhidul Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article claims that the TRIPS standard-setting, i.e. strengthening IPRs in agriculture and pharmaceuticals carries mixed economic prospects and concerns for an agriculture-prone and densely populated least-developed country (LDC) like Bangladesh. With the lack of R&D due to low income, the standard-setting does not help the country to fulfil subsistence needs or promote economic development through innovations. However, exception clauses and special and differential treatment in terms of the compliance deadline coupled with technology transfer promises, carry economic development prospects for the country that is already known as a promising finished product manufacturer reverse-engineering existing seeds and pharmaceuticals. During the TRIPS transition period and afterwards the privileged position of an LDC is likely to serve both the ends of meeting survival needs and making economic progress with the supply of reverse-engineered products to home and abroad. However, to capitalize on such privileges, Bangladesh needs to streamline its existing IPR legislation, especially in defining patentable inventions with rigid qualifying clauses, broadening the extent of compulsory licensing and sticking with the TRIPS by adopting flexible interpretation and not going beyond the TRIPS. Similarly, the TRIPS needs to be more specific on technology transfer arrangements, which are currently 'best endeavour' nature objectives and principles. Therefore, LDCs should push for specific rules in WTO negotiations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-45
Number of pages45
JournalNordic journal of commercial law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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