Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Studies in Law


Studies in Law


Dr. Margaret Ann Wilkinson


Intellectual property (IP) is omnipresent in both the context of the United Nations (UN) system (including international human rights law and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)), and international trade law, while the right to food has a much lower international profile. IP moved into international trade in 1994 through the TRIPS Agreement. The right to food has no presence in international trade. These two rights are the focus of this study – but are contrasted with several other rights: the right to health and the rights of persons with disabilities. The right to health was not present in international trade until 2001when in the Doha Declaration, it first appeared paired with IP. The rights of persons with disabilities still do not appear in the international trade context but the 2013 Marrakesh Treaty nonetheless connects them with IP. This thesis traces the definition of the right to food and the right to IP using doctrinal and historical analysis. The author concludes that (a) that lack of clarity in the definition of the right to food, and (b) lack of strength in international institutions, both make the right to food ill-prepared for the challenges presented by the increasingly powerful position of IP in international arenas.