One of the issue that has become increasingly important to WTO is protecting Intellectual Property Rights.
The 1995, Uruguay agreement established the WTO also contain an agreement to protect intellectual property (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS Agreement).
The TRIPS regulation oblige WTO members to grant and enforce patents lasting at least 20 years and copyrights lasting 50 years.
Rich countries had to comply with the rule within a year.Poor countries, in which such protection was generally weaker , had 5 years. And the very poorest had 10 years.
The basis for this agreement was a strong belief of signatory nations that protection of Intellectual Property through patents, trademarks, copyrights must be essential element of International Trading System.
Inadequate Protection of IPR reduces incentives of Innovation, and it being engine for economic growth and rising living standards, argument was a “Multilateral Agreement is needed to protect IPR”.
Without such agreement it is feared that countries can imitate goods produced in different countries and can sell in other countries.
Something similar was happening in pharma Industry, thus under WTO TRIPS Agreement, India agreed to adopt and enforce the international drug patent regime by 2005.
TRIPS is in interest of WTO members to make sure that intellectual property rights are respected and enforced.
The 1995 Uruguay agreement that created WTO make headway with TRIPS Agreement.