Professor Cornish's pioneering textbook on Patents, Copyright, Trade Marks and Allied Rights first appeared in 1981. Its rather conservative title no doubt reflected the general lack of familiarity then with the term ‘Intellectual Property’. It was an important area of law, but left to the specialists and their clients; the wider world knew little of it or of its significance. Successive editions of the text have witnessed a transformation; the emergence of intellectual property from a backwater to feature prominently now as valuable property demanding attention from those involved in most forms of economic activity and from politicians and others involved in national and international affairs. There was a paucity of intellectual property literature then; today it is overwhelming.
IP laws, now, are stronger, more extensive, more pervasive, harmonized and globalized than ever could have been contemplated in 1981. TRIPS, introduced to ensure that the legitimate channels of exploitation of intellectual property were not undermined by inadequate laws or ineffective means of monitoring and enforcing them, projected the intellectual property image throughout the world. Thereafter, efforts were made to ratchet up the minimum standards of TRIPS to TRIPS-Plus by international conventions (such as the WIPO Copyright Treaties), international resolutions (such as those affecting trade marks and the internet and well known marks) and, as a surprising recent development, by means of an increasing number of bilateral Free Trade Agreements.
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