If war is much too important a subject to leave up to generals, as Bismarck said, the rules of international commerce are far too important to leave up to government bureaucrats.
In March 1986, six months before the Punta del Este meeting launching the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations, twelve corporate executives of US-based multinational corporations formed the Intellectual Property Committee (IPC). The IPC sought to develop international support for improving the international protection of intellectual property (patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets). The IPC, in conjunction with its counterparts in Europe and Japan, crafted a proposal based on existing industrialized country laws and presented its proposals to the GATT Secretariat. By 1994, the IPC had achieved its goal in the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) accord of the Uruguay trade round. The United States, and ultimately the parties to the GATT negotiations, accepted the particular vision articulated by the IPC. What is new in this case is that industry identified a trade problem, devised a solution, and reduced it to a concrete proposal that it then advanced to governments. These private sector actors succeeded in getting most of what they wanted from an IP agreement, which now has the status of public international law.
In effect, twelve corporations made public law for the world.
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