Globalization of Patent Laws through Trade Agreements, and Pressures on Ethiopia’s Patent Regime: The Passenger behind the Wheel
Given that patent law emerged in domestic systems, there was an obvious diversity of patent regimes. With the advent of cross-border movement of resources, including inventions, there was a need for a harmonized patent regime. The issue went to another level with the entry into force of the WTO/TRIPS Agreement, which requires WTO members to enact new patent laws or amend existing ones to make them TRIPS compliant. The Ethiopian Patent Law, which was enacted in 1995, is strangely TRIPS compliant, tempting many to think that it had Ethiopia’s forthcoming accession in mind. However, with Ethiopia yet to complete the accession process, there are further pressures from industrialized countries to ensure that stringent patent rules are complied with in developing countries. This article examines TRIPS, the Cotonou Agreement and AGOA as effective instruments of ensuring compliance. It is argued that the Ethiopian patent system will continue to observe TRIPS and other standards as dictated by the Global North.
Key termsGlobalization · Harmonization · IP · Patent · TRIPS Agreement · BTA · GSP · Cotonou Agreement · AGOA