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Abstract

The World Trade Organization’s (“WTO”) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”) promised to standardize world-wide intellectual property rights (“IPR”) enforcement procedures, and thus, facilitate trade and commerce between member nations. However, the TRIPS implementation transition of many less developed and developing nations has resulted in a much lower IPR enforcement standard than the drafters of TRIPS envisioned. This, coupled with increased world-wide trade in counterfeit goods, has created friction between the developing nations with lower IPR enforcement and the developed nations with higher IPR enforcement. Consequently, many nations, including the United States, have entered into Free Trade Agreements (“FTA”) to further raise the IPR enforcement standards that TRIPS laid out. Nonetheless, there are still concerns with the new FTAs, most importantly, with training the many different customs officials to recognize the multitude of IPR violations. Not until customs and other enforcement officials realize that the protection of IPR brings value and stability to their economies, will there be an adequate standardized system of IPR enforcement.

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