Taking ATRIP Down Memory Lane

Taking ATRIP Down Memory Lane

The International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP) was founded in Geneva in July 1981, with the support and assistance of the World Intellectual Property Organization. This professional academic association now includes hundreds of intellectual property professors and researchers from around the world.

As the final contribution to the "ATRIP Passes 30" Symposium, which collects the reminiscences of the past and current ATRIP presidents, this short essay provides, in chronological order, some key information about all the pre-ATRIP Round Tables and ATRIP Congresses. This short history not only documents the historical origins, rapid growth and past accomplishments of an important transnational professional association, but also reflects the rapid development of the intellectual property field in the past three decades.


This symposium collects the reminiscences of the past and current presidents of the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP). As shown in this collection, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has played an instrumental role in both the formation of ATRIP and the development of intellectual property as a field of teaching and research. In the past three decades, WIPO has also offered important and continuing support to ATRIP Congresses. It not only has made available its staff (including members of the WIPO Academy), but has also provided generous funding support to ATRIP delegates from developing countries.

Given the close and longstanding ties between WIPO and ATRIP, it is logical for The WIPO Journal to pay tribute to the latter and to document the historical origins and noted accomplishments of this transnational professional academic organisation. Through a trip down memory lane, we not only can learn more about the organisation’s rapid growth and past challenges, but can also better understand the development of the intellectual property field in general. This symposium should be of great interest to all intellectual property professors and researchers, in particular past and present ATRIP members.

Of great interest are the historical origins of ATRIP (including WIPO’s role in the early and much lesser known Round Tables), the focus of its early annual meetings on the teaching of and research in intellectual property (in particular the discussion and dissemination of syllabi of intellectual property courses),[1] the subsequent exploration of intellectual property issues relating to universities and other academic institutions, the relationship between the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the session on national reports (which remains active and is often held on the last day of an ATRIP Congress) and the emergence of specific conference themes in the mid-2000s (which now lend themselves to books published in the ATRIP Series by Edward Elgar Publishing).

In addition, the symposium contributions reflect both the foresight and pioneering effort of WIPO and ATRIP leaders, many of whom have now become elder statesmen in the intellectual property field. The contributions also vividly capture the camaraderie among intellectual property professors and researchers—a trait that, sadly, is not always present in the legal academia. Perhaps because the intellectual property field did not come of age until two decades ago, scholars in this field have always been more open, collegial and supportive of each other, even when they disagree on key issues and developments.



Featured here is the beginning of a paper by Peter K. Yu, IP Osgoode Research Affiliate, Kern Family Chair in Intellectual Property Law and Founding Director of the Intellectual Property Law Center at Drake University Law School. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Professor Yu is a leading expert in international intellectual property and communications law. He also writes and lectures extensively on international trade, international and comparative law, and the transition of the legal systems in China and Hong Kong. The full article can be found here.



[1] On the teaching of intellectual property law, see Jeremy de Beer and Chidi Oguamanam, Intellectual Property Training and Education: A Development Perspective (Geneva: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, 2010); Yo Takagi, Larry Allman and Mpazi A. Sinjela (eds), Teaching of Intellectual Property: Principles and Methods (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008); Peter K. Yu, “Intellectual Property Training and Education for Development” (2012) 27 Am. U. Int’l L. Rev. 311; Peter K. Yu, “Teaching International Intellectual Property Law” (2008) 52 St. Louis U. L.J. 923.