Despite the proposals to the contrary, the ON TRIPS agreement did not provide that pharmaceutical inventions in preparation in these countries at the time of WTO entry into force would be protected. (3) However, with effect as of 1 January 1995, developing and least developed countries that have not yet provided patent protection for medicines are required to provide a patent filing system for pharmaceutical inventions (often referred to as mailbox systems). These applications had to be considered for developing countries only after 1 January 2005 and should not be considered until 1 January 2016 for least developed countries. If it turns out that it can be patentable from the filing date (or priority period), a patent should be issued for the remainder of the filing period from the filing date. In addition to the basic intellectual property standards set out in the TRIPS agreement, many nations have committed to bilateral agreements to adopt a higher level of protection. This collection of standards, known as TRIPS or TRIPS-Plus, can take many forms.  Among the general objectives of these agreements are: The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the international organization that deals with trade rules between nations. Since February 2005, 148 countries have been members of the WTO. Countries are committed to complying with the 18 specific agreements attached to the WTO agreement. They cannot choose to be proponents of certain agreements, but not others (with the exception of some “multilateral” agreements that are not mandatory). The TRIPS agreement provides for transitional periods that give developing countries additional time to bring national laws and practices into line with TRIPS rules.
There are three main transit periods. The first was the 1995-2000 transition period, at which time countries were required to implement the TRIPS agreement. The 2000-2005 transition period allowed some countries to delay the protection of patents produced in areas where protection was not as well protected at the time the TRIPS agreement came into force in that country. These countries were allowed to follow a five-year patent regime for technologies and products they had not yet granted for patent protection, such as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. During the transitional period, these countries are required to accept patent applications from 1995 and to keep these applications open in a mailbox until the mailbox opens in 2005, when applications are reviewed. The third transition period will allow least developed countries (LDCs) until 2006 to meet their obligations under the TRIPS agreement, given their economic, financial and administrative constraints. This period may still be extended by the TRIPS Council at the request of a member of the LDC. LDCs now have a further extension until 2016 for patents on medicines and exclusive marketing rights through the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS and Public Health Agreement.
As a result, LDCs do not need to plan and enforce patents and data protection for drugs by January 1, 2016 (see below). Transitional periods have resulted in patented drugs or drugs prior to the implementation of their TRIPS obligations not receiving patent protection, allowing for general competition. Patented drugs after the implementation of their TRIPS commitments in developing countries are gradually entering the market and will account for an increasing share of commercialized drugs.