summary the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (trips), in force since 1995, operating under the orbit of the world trade organization (wto), constitutes a global milestone in the development of intellectual property protection under its different forms. this is particularly evident in the latin american countries, where it is necessary to update the norms regulating these rights. as the cooperation between science and the private sector is gaining ground, in comparison with the former model in which public funding of scientific activities was almost exclusive, the adequate protection of intellectual property becomes increasingly relevant also for the scientific sector. scientific findings in order to become patentable require an invention, product or process, that must be new, involve an inventive step, and be capable of industrial application. another form of protection, different and independent of patents is the protection of undisclosed information. public policies that favor intellectual property protection are more related to achieve growth promoting innovation, application and transfer of technology, and quality improvement.