World Trade Organisation

Key Personnel

  • Director-General: Pascal Lamy
  • Deputy Director-General (Intellectual Property Division): Rufus Yerxa
  • Deputy Director-General: Valentine Rugwabiza
  • Deputy Director-General: Harsha Vardhana-Singh


The World Trade Organisation is “the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations”. Intellectual property falls within the remit of the World Trade Organisation because it is an important factor in international trade. “At the heart of the WTO are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations”.


The most important WTO agreement relating to intellectual property is the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This was negotiated in the 1986-94 Uruguay Round, and “introduced intellectual property rules into multilateral trading for the first time.” It involved five key issues: “how basic principles of the trading system and other international intellectual property agreements should be applied; how to give adequate protection to intellectual property rights; how countries should enforce those rights adequately in their own territories; how to settle disputes on intellectual property between members of the WTO and special transitional arrangements during the period when the new system is being introduced.”

Further Information