There have been other examples abroad where the MDCA approach has stifled innovation and/or competition. For example, a customization that allowed Apple Macintosh computer users to work with external DVD recorders meant that users did not need to purchase a new Apple Macintosh to use a DVD burner. Apple claimed it was a violation of the MDCA and stopped selling the upgrade. (56) As a result, Apple Macintosh users were forced to purchase the latest computer model if they wanted the dvd features. Evidence suggests that copyright holders use these technological limitations to do more than protect themselves from piracy. With this in mind, progress has been made in the use of protection pathways by the information and communication technology (ICT) industry to strengthen its market power. Mr. Vaile, Minister of Trade, Free Trade Agreement with the United States, Press Release MVT08/2004, 8 February 2004, to www.trademinister.gov.au/releases/2004/mvt008_04.html The trend towards enhanced protection of intellectual property rights in general has been reinforced by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), negotiated in the framework of the Uruguay Round (198694). (12) This Agreement introduced for the first time the full range of options for the protection of intellectual property into WTO rules, which are the rules under which the multilateral trading system operates. Although the rules are administered by the WTO, they reflect negotiations between members and the agreements they conclude. The WTO asserts that as intellectual property has become increasingly important in global trade, differences in the scope and application of the protection of intellectual property rights have become a source of tension in international economic relations.
Hence the objective of achieving greater order and predictability through internationally agreed rules for the service of intellectual property rights and the systematic settlement of disputes. The United States has played an important role in this development. One observer reminded us that in 1982 the United States was the only one calling for the development of GATT disciplines against trade in counterfeit goods, an idea that was perceived as an irritation by most countries. (13) Developing countries wanted the opposite, in order to tip the balance in favour of the free diffusion of technologies that could be useful in the development agenda. .