Bilateral and regional trade deals frequently include patent provisions that go beyond the minimum requirement of the multilateral Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). They extend the scope of patentability and provide additional rights to patent holders. This paper systematically maps these “TRIPS-plus” agreements. Exploiting a new data set, 52 TRIPS-plus agreements are found to have been concluded between 1990 and 2017. The major proponents of these TRIPS-plus agreements on patents are the United States, followed by the European Union and the European Free Trade Association. Other technology-rich countries, such as Japan and Korea, have surprisingly few TRIPS-plus provisions on patent protection in their trade agreements. Few South-South trade agreements include TRIPS-plus provisions, but some include TRIPS-extra provisions on genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Having a clear picture of these TRIPS-plus agreements is essential as they can have important social and economic consequences, including for the development of innovations and access to technologies.


  • Jean-Frédéric Morin is a CIGI senior fellow and an associate professor at Laval University, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy.

  • Dimitri Thériault holds a master’s degree in international studies from the Institute for Advanced International Studies (Laval University) and a bachelor’s degree in economics and politics from Laval University.
    During his studies, Dimitri worked as a research assistant with Jean-Frédéric Morin, Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy. His main role was to provide statistical analysis and charts based on TREND. Currently, he is a briefing officer at Global Affairs Canada.