[A2k] Intellectual Property Watch: Ambassadors Meet Outside WTO To Discuss TRIPS Negotiations
thiru at keionline.org
Sat Sep 25 12:18:04 PDT 2010
Intellectual Property Watch
24 September 2010
Ambassadors Meet Outside WTO To Discuss TRIPS Negotiations
By William New @ 9:58 pm
More than a dozen ambassadors to the World Trade Organization met
today at the New Zealand mission in Geneva to discuss the state of
negotiations related to intellectual property rights and trade.
According to government sources, the meeting was organised by WTO
member states outside the WTO after years of difficult efforts in
talks under the responsibility of the WTO Director General.
Some 15 or 16 ambassadors were expected to attend, likely from WTO
members such as Brazil, China, European Union, India, and the United
States, among which are proponents of the proposed changes under
consideration. Proposals have been on the table for several years
that would change the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
At issue in the Doha Round of trade talks launched in Qatar in 2001
are two topics related to geographical indications, or products names
derived from places or specific regional characteristics, and one
related to biodiversity.
Under TRIPS Article 22, geographical indications have to be protected.
Under TRIPS Art. 23, wines and spirits are given a higher level of
protection. Proponents would like to extend the higher level of
protection to other products. A separate item formally part of the
Doha Round is the mandated creation of a GI register.
Three proposals have been put forward: one by the EU in 2005 calling
for the TRIPS agreement to be amended; a joint proposal document
submitted also in 2005 and revised in 2008 by Argentina, Australia,
Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua,
Paraguay, South Africa, Taiwan, the United States, proposing to set up
a voluntary system where notified GIs would be registered in a
database; and a Hong Kong “compromise” proposal less ambitious than
the EU proposal, according to the WTO.
On the third TRIPS topic, Brazil, India and others have proposed an
amendment to TRIPS to require the disclosure of origin of genetic
resources used in patent applications, as an attempt to stop biopiracy.
While a majority of WTO members support negotiations on these issues,
all of the issues have met with resistance from countries that see
little gain in either and also have been victim of the larger
stalemate in the WTO round.
Under the “cocktail” approach, WTO members have been holding dedicated
meetings outside the WTO in recent months on core topics under
negotiation in the Doha Round, but as a representative of one
participating country put it, “they wanted to make a bigger cake” in
order to increase possibilities for tradeoffs.
But although information on the outcome of the morning meeting was
difficult to obtain, another representative said it was unlikely that
ambassadors would move off of their countries’ positions in this
“I don’t think it would be wise for any negotiators to show their
cards at this point,” the official said. Rather, they should wait for
movement in the non-agricultural market access or agricultural market
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org
Tel: +41 22 791 6727
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