TRIPS Agreement: Transitional period for implementing the Agreement (Article 66.1)

LDCs were not required to implement the TRIPS Agreement, other than Article 3 (national treatment), Article 4 (MFN treatment) and Article 5 (precedence of WIPO procedures), for a period of 10 years from 1 January 1996.

Paragraph 1 of the Decision of the TRIPS Council on the Extension of the Transitional Period under Article 66.1 of the Agreement for Least-Developed Country Members has extended this transition period for another 7.5 years which expired on 1 July 2013.

The Council for TRIPS shall, upon duly motivated request by a least-developed country Member, accord extensions of this period (Article 65.1 & 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement).

On 11 June 2013 a Decision of the Council for TRIPS decided on an extension of the transition period under article 66.1 for LDCs stipulating that LDC Members shall not be required to apply the provisions of the Agreement (other than Articles 3, 4 and 5) until 1 July 2021, or earlier, upon graduation from the LDC category.


Available Smooth Transition Procedures:

Utilization by LDCs:

In the survey undertaken by DESA, all LDCs indicated not having officially requested an extension of the transition period (under the above mentioned decision) beyond 2013.  However, in February 2008, at the end of an LDC meeting in Lesotho, Mali suggested a further extension of the transition period until 1 January 2016.  Bangladesh indicated that a request for further extension of the transition period will perhaps be made in the future as the deadline approaches.

With a view to implementing paragraph 7 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health (WT/MIN(01)/DEC/2),  the TRIPS Council adopted a Decision on 1 July 2002 by which the transition period under Article 66.1 for least-developed country Members with respect to the protection and enforcement of patents and undisclosed information was extended until 1 January 2016 (IP/C/25).  This was completed by Decision of the General Council of 12 July 2002, which waived the obligations of least-developed country Members under Article 70.9 with respect to exclusive marketing rights for pharmaceutical products subject of a patent application until 1 January 2016 (WT/L/478).

The general transition period for least-developed country Members was initially due to expire on 1 January 2006.  Recognizing their special needs and requirements, the TRIPS Council adopted a Decision on 29 November 2005 that extended the transition period under Article 66.1 for least-developed country Members until 1 July 2013 (IP/C/40). With a view to facilitating targeted technical and financial cooperation programmes, all the least-developed country Members will provide to the TRIPS Council, preferably by 1 January 2008, as much information as possible on their individual priority needs for technical and financial cooperation in order to assist them taking the steps necessary to implement the TRIPS Agreement. Accordingly, developed country Members shall provide technical and financial cooperation in favour of least developed country Members in pursuant to Article 67.

As of April 17, 2018, nine LDCs have submitted their individual priority needs to the TRIPS Council. They are Sierra Leone(2007), Uganda(2007), Bangladesh(2010), Rwanda(2010), Tanzania(2010), Senegal(2011), Mali(2012), Madagascar(2013) and Togo(2013).

Resources:

  1. URUGUAY ROUND AGREEMENT: TRIPS—Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
  2. WTO document IP/C/40, 30 November 2005, “Extension of the Transition Period under Article 66.1 for Least-Developed Country Members”
  3. Special and Differential Treatment Provisions in WTO Agreements and Decisions – Note by the Secretariat
  4. Implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health
  5. Paragraph 18 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration
  6. Extension of the transition period under Article 66.1 for LDC members (11 June 2013)