EC submission to TRIPs Council

Subject: EC submission to TRIPs Council
From: Barbara Schleihagen (
Date: ke 21 heinš† 1999 - 17:22:03 EEST

The "Submission by the European Communities and their Member States to the
TRIPs Council on the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce" can be accessed

The TRIPs Agreement (Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights)
entered into force in 1995 as part of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
Agreement and gives international minimum standards for IPR protection. The
conclusions of the EC are:

"The TRIPs Agreement, together with other international conventions,
already provides for a sound basis for the protection of intellectual
property rights in the off-line world and the on-line environment, which
could be built upon, if necessary.

In certain areas, shortcomings exist in the present system for the
protection of intellectual property rights. In other areas, it has to be
recognised that the TRIPs Agreement does only provide for minimum standards
and does not aim at harmonising all aspects of intellectual property
rights. Consequently, differences in the national protection systems appear
to be inevitable.

Some of the shortcomings might relate to issues which could go beyond those
purely related to the protection of intellectual property rights and,
therefore, might have to be addressed in a more horizontal manner. Work is
already well under way in other international fora, notably WIPO. These
developments will be closely followed.

At an appropriate time in the future, and taking into account work done in
other fora, it might be desirable to adapt or clarify the provisions of the
TRIPs Agreement to reflect new technological developments in order to help
foster a legal environment where electronic commerce can develop to the
benefit of all participants."

Best wishes,
Barbara Schleihagen
Barbara Schleihagen, Director
P.O. Box 43300
NL-2504 AH The Hague
Tel: +31-70-309 06 08
Fax: +31-70-309 07 08

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