Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


Anne Hiaring


This note discusses the procedure of dispute resolution in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The note goes on to discuss WTO disputes involving intellectual property to date and the possible impacts of the WTO dispute resolution procedures on the determination of substantive issues of intellectual property law, using dispute WS 160 involving the Fairness in Music Licensing Act, as an example. The note concludes that the same concerns about lack of due process and inability of amici to appear in the proceedings that cause concern in the environmental field are also causes of concern with respect to intellectual property rights determinations. Lawyers trained in the negotiation of trade disputes with no background in intellectual property are determining important issues on intellectual property rights protection, with no guarantee of the participation of fair use or other civil society advocates, nor the ability of developing nations with fewer resources to make their voices heard in these proceedings.