The TRIPS agreement provides for transitional periods that give developing countries additional time to bring national laws and practices into line with TRIPS rules. There are three main transit periods. The first was the 1995-2000 transition period, at which time countries were required to implement the TRIPS agreement. The 2000-2005 transition period allowed some countries to delay the protection of patents produced in areas where protection was not as well protected at the time the TRIPS agreement came into force in that country. These countries were allowed to follow a five-year patent regime for technologies and products they had not yet granted for patent protection, such as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. During the transitional period, these countries are required to accept patent applications from 1995 and to keep these applications open in a mailbox until the mailbox opens in 2005, when applications are reviewed. The third transition period will allow least developed countries (LDCs) until 2006 to meet their obligations under the TRIPS agreement, given their economic, financial and administrative constraints. This period may still be extended by the TRIPS Council at the request of a member of the LDC. LDCs now have a further extension until 2016 for patents on medicines and exclusive marketing rights through the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS and Public Health Agreement. As a result, LDCs do not need to plan and enforce patents and data protection for drugs by January 1, 2016 (see below).
Transitional periods have resulted in patented drugs or drugs prior to the implementation of their TRIPS obligations not receiving patent protection, allowing for general competition. Patented drugs after the implementation of their TRIPS commitments in developing countries are gradually entering the market and will account for an increasing share of commercialized drugs. After 2005, when all developing countries are required to grant patent protection for pharmaceuticals and mailbox patents are processed, significant change is expected. Among these agreements, the ip rights trade (TRIPS) aspects are expected to have the greatest impact on the pharmaceutical sector and access to medicines. The TRIPS agreement has been in force since 1995 and is the most comprehensive multilateral IP agreement to date. The TRIPS agreement introduced global minimum standards for the protection and enforcement of almost all forms of intellectual property rights (IPRs), including patent rights. International agreements prior to TRIPS did not contain minimum patent standards. At the time negotiations began, more than 40 countries around the world did not grant patent protection for pharmaceuticals.
The TRIPS agreement now requires all WTO members, with a few exceptions, to adapt their legislation to minimum standards of intellectual property protection. In addition, the TRIPS agreement introduced detailed obligations to respect intellectual property rights. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the international organization that deals with trade rules between nations. Since February 2005, 148 countries have been members of the WTO. Countries are committed to complying with the 18 specific agreements attached to the WTO agreement. They cannot choose to be proponents of certain agreements, but not others (with the exception of some “multilateral” agreements that are not mandatory). There has been no procedure for resolving software patent disputes. Its relevance to patentability in areas such as computer-implemented business methods, computer science and software information technology remains uncertain, as the TRIPS agreement is interpreted as all legal texts .