One of the most dramatic instances of international market regulation in the twentieth century was the adoption of a multilateral, enforceable, intellectual property protection regime at the end of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations in 1994. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) ushered in a new era of high standards of intellectual property protection, requiring profound and costly domestic institutional changes in many, many countries. International market regulation has increasingly penetrated domestic regulatory environments in ways that have compromised domestic political bargains. Historical institutionalism can help to explain the emergence of a global regime for intellectual property protection as a product of institutional change in the US. Historical institutionalism provides a lens to examine the directly political (rather than technocratic or efficiency maximizing) processes establishing domestic and international power relations.