Trade-related aspects of intellectual property, commonly referred to as TRIPS, are a multilateral agreement concluded within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that entered into force in 1994. It was the first such agreement to treat so-called intellectual property (IP) rights, in particular copyrights and patents, as a global trade issue, since the inability of one country to protect the intellectual property of another country constitutes an obstacle to trade between those countries. However, the reason why IP was defined as a trade issue was to have access to enforcement mechanisms established by the WTO that could allow the application of trade sanctions against countries that did not meet agreed standards. The current copyright and patent standards set out in the TRIPS Agreement come largely from other sources. With regard to copyright, the Berne Convention is at the origin of most of the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement. The main areas in which the TRIPS Agreement extends Bernese copyright provisions are the explicit protection of software and databases. Similarly, the Paris Agreement provides the source for the patent provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, to which the TRIPS Agreement mainly adds implementing provisions. The Berne and Paris Conventions are administered by WIPO. In particular, the United States has been criticized for pushing protection far beyond the standards prescribed by the TRIPS Agreement. U.S. free trade agreements with Australia, Morocco, and Bahrain have expanded patentability by requiring patents to be available for new uses of known products. The TRIPS Agreement allows for compulsory licensing at a country`s discretion. U.S. free trade agreements with Australia, Jordan, Singapore, and Vietnam have limited the application of compulsory licenses to emergencies, antitrust remedies, and cases of non-commercial public use.  In addition to the basic intellectual property standards established by the TRIPS Agreement, many countries have participated in bilateral agreements aimed at introducing a higher standard of protection. This set of standards, known as TRIPS+ or TRIPS-Plus, can take many forms.  The general objectives of these agreements are: These agreements are expected to have the greatest impact on the trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) on the pharmaceutical sector and access to medicines. The TRIPS Agreement has been in force since 1995 and is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property to date. The TRIPS Agreement introduced global minimum standards for the protection and enforcement of almost all forms of intellectual property rights (IPRs), including those relating to patents. International agreements prior to the TRIPS Agreement did not establish minimum standards for patents. At the time negotiations began, more than 40 countries around the world did not grant patent protection for pharmaceuticals.
The TRIPS Agreement now obliges all WTO Members, with a few exceptions, to adapt their legislation to minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property rights. In addition, the TRIPS Agreement also introduced detailed obligations to enforce intellectual property rights. .