Governments may refuse to grant patents for the following three reasons: as in the main existing intellectual property conventions, the fundamental obligation of each Member State is to accord persons of other Members the treatment provided for in the Agreement with regard to the protection of intellectual property. Article 1.3 defines who these persons are. Such persons shall be designated as nationals, but shall include natural or legal persons having close links with other members, without necessarily being nationals. The criteria for determining which persons should therefore benefit from the treatment provided for in the Agreement are those defined for that purpose in the main existing WIPO agreements on intellectual property, which naturally apply to all WTO Members, whether or not they are parties to those agreements. These agreements are the Paris Convention, the Berne Convention, the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Phonogram Manufacturers and Broadcasters (Rome Convention) and the Intellectual Property Contract for Integrated Circuits (IPIC). The provisions relating to the protection of performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organizations are set out in Article 14. In accordance with Article 14.1, performers have the possibility to record their performance on a phonogram (e.g.B. prevent the recording of a live musical performance). The right of fixation applies only to acoustic fixations and not to audiovisual fixations. Performers must also be able to prevent the reproduction of such fixations. They also have the option to prevent unauthorized wireless transmission and public playback of their live performance. In addition, the Agreement contains certain fundamental principles, such as national treatment and most-favoured-nation treatment, as well as certain general rules to ensure that procedural difficulties in acquiring or maintaining intellectual property rights do not reduce the material benefits arising from the Agreement.
The obligations under the agreement apply equally to all Member States, but developing countries have a longer period of time to comply with them gradually. Special transitional provisions apply in the situation where a developing country does not currently protect patents in the field of medicines. .