[A2k] TWN Info: WIPO: Hectic informal consultations to resolve pending issues

Sangeeta Shashikant ssangeeta at myjaring.net
Wed Oct 2 14:48:23 PDT 2013


Title : TWN IP Info: WIPO: Hectic informal consultations to resolve
pending issues
Date : 02 October 2013


WIPO: Hectic informal consultations to resolve pending issues

Geneva, 2 October (K.M. Gopakumar) ­ Member States are engaged in hectic
informal consultations to find consensus on six pending agenda items on
the last day of the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property
Organization.

The morning plenary that was supposed to start at 10 am today has been
postponed to facilitate the informal consultation.  At the time of
writing, the start of the plenary session remains uncertain and a long
session into the night is expected.

Consensus is missing on the following six agenda items: Agenda 14 on
program and budget for biennium 2014-15, Agenda 30 on governance, Agenda
33 on Consideration of the convening of a Diplomatic Conference for the
Adoption of a Design Law Treaty, Agenda 34 on Matters Relating to the
Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, Agenda 36 on Reports
on other WIPO Committees and on the issue of the Committee on WIPO
Standards.

There is no consensus on four items in agenda 14 on program and budget for
biennium 2014-15. These are programs no. 2, 4, 18 and 20.
Program no. 2 deals with trademark and budgets for holding a diplomatic
conference to adopt a design law treaty. However, there is no consensus
among Member States on this issue.

Program no. 4 provisions funds for convening a diplomatic conference for
the adoption of international legal instruments. However, the Group B of
developed countries is not agreeing on this issue.

Program no. 18 outlines the activities under two areas viz. the activities
of the Intellectual Property (IP) and Global Challenge division of WIPO,
and IP and Competition Policy. According to the Budget Document the
objective of this program is to address ³innovation and IP at the nexus of
interconnected global issues, in particular Global Health, Climate Change
and Food Security².

The following implementation strategies of the Global Challenge division
are listed in the budget document: Developing and maintaining practical
IP-based mechanisms and tools for addressing global challenges; providing
support to Member States, intergovernmental organizations, civil society,
and other stakeholders and assisting them in the identification of
feasible approaches; developing objective and balanced information on the
relationships among global challenges, innovation and technology transfer.

However the activities of the Global Challenge Division has come under
criticism form Member States due to absence of reporting of its activities
to Member States.  The work program of the Global Challenges Division has
direct bearing on the WIPO Development Agenda adopted in 2007 by the
General Assembly. Nevertheless, the activities of the Global Challenge
Division are never reported to the Committee on Development and
Intellectual Property (CDIP), a body created for the implementation of the
Development Agenda.  The Development Agenda Group (DAG) of several
developing countries is insisting for the CDIP oversight on the activities
of the Global Challenges division.

Some observers of the Global Challenges Division point out that key
staffers who are working in the division have a past history of working
with industry.  The director of the division, Anatole Krattiger, is well
known as a lobbyist for the agro-biotechnology industry. Similarly, a
recent recruitment to the Division is Philip Stevens, who worked as the
director of policy communication at the International Policy Network
(IPN), a lobby group that advocates for IP maximalist policies (see:
http://www.policy-network.net/).

According to the Center for Media and Democracy, the IPN is a
corporate-funded campaigning group based in the United Kingdom set up in
2001. It originally had offices around the world in the USA, Chile and
India. By 2003 all of the offices had closed down apart from the London
one. The great bulk of the IPN's income is donations from corporations; in
both 2003 and 2004 the proportion was about 85%. The UK branch
subsequently disbanded in June 2011 with former chairman Linda Whetstone
leaving the group (See:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=International_Policy_Network).

Program 20 deals with WIPO¹s external relations, partnerships and external
offices i.e. the opening of WIPO external offices.  It proposes the
opening up of five more external offices during the period 2014-15 in
China, Russia and the US as well as two offices in Africa. However, there
is no consensus on the number and guidelines for opening of new external
offices.  Since the informal consultation process started during the
meeting of the Program and Budget Committee failed to reach a solution, an
Ambassador level meeting was convened last night (1 October) to resolve
the deadlock. However this meeting failed to arrive at a consensus on the
issue.  The second meeting of ambassadors is started at 12 noon today (2
October) to resolve the issue.

There are diverging views on this issue.  One set of countries is asking
for a set of guidelines for the selection of countries for the opening up
of external offices to then make the selection of countries, instead of
going ahead with the five countries listed in the budget document. Another
set of countries is accepting the five countries listed in the document
but demanding a decision on the guidelines to resolve the future requests.
A third set of countries is asking for the opening up of external offices
in their countries.

Meanwhile, the coordination committee met yesterday and approved the
Memorandum of Understanding signed by WIPO with China and Russia to open
external offices in those countries.

A document circulated on 1 October contains general guiding principles and
implementation for the establishment of a small, efficient, strategically
located and geographically representative network of external offices.
The guiding principles are: transparency of the procedure on setting up of
WIPO external offices, rationale for establishing new external offices and
their purpose, financial suitability/budget neutrality, geographic
aspects/locational aspects, external office¹s accountability.

There is no consensus on these proposed general guiding principles. The
transparency of the procedures on setting up WIPO external offices
contains a bracketed text as well as an alternative proposal from the
Republic of Iran.  Similarly, there is also an alternative proposal from
Group B on the rationale for establishing the new external offices.

The same 1 October document also contains the decision with regard to the
establishment of external offices in the 2014-15 biennium.

There is also no agreement with regard to the implementation of the
guiding principles. The document contains three proposals on this. The
first proposal is from the Vice-Chair, which reads ³It was decided to
immediately apply the general guiding principles to all proposed,
existing, and future EOs (External Offices) to the extent applicable,
provided that relevant decisions taken by the General Assemblies in the
past and including the present one on the matter of EOs will remain in
force. It is understood that, in particular, paragraphs (a) 3 and 4 as
well as paragraphs (b) to (e) apply to all EOs².

The proposal by the African Group, China and Russian Federation states
that ³The implementation of the above principles does not have a
retroactive impact on the five offices proposed by the Secretariat for the
establishment in the 2014 /2015 biennium, as well as those agreed upon
during the Assemblies 2013².

The third proposal from the Republic of Korea states ³The General Guiding
Principles above have been worked out through the Member Driven process.
Thus, they shall apply immediately after they are approved by Member
States so that the General Assemblies can proceed to deliberate and decide
on the establishment of the new Eos without delay².
There are two proposals with regard to the external offices to be
established in the next biennium. The first proposal from the Vice-Chair
reads, ³It was decided that in the biennium of 2014/15, resources would be
allocated for establishing two (one for the GRULAC region and another one
for India), in addition to the five EOs initially proposed to the PBC².

The second proposal from South Korean states: ³the General Assemblies of
2013 also agrees to establish and adequately fund, beginning in the
2014-15 biennium, the new EOs in the locations of the Member States and
the regional Group(s) which have explicitly indicated their willingness
and intention to host such offices, including China, India, the Republic
of Korea, the Russian Federation, the GRULAC region as well as the African
region.

In this regard, the General Assemblies will use the General Guiding
Principles to decide on the number and locations of the new Eos for the
next biennium and beyond².
Another contentious issue is Agenda 30 on the consideration of the
convening of a Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a Design Law
Treaty. Central European and Baltic States (CEBS), the EU and Group B are
pushing for a decision to hold a diplomatic conference to conclude the
design law treaty. 

Even though the treaty is projected as a procedural law treaty it is a
fact that it has implications on the substantive law, particularly on the
grace periods, multiple applications and licensing of designs. Hence the
African Group and some Asian countries such as India are not supporting
the idea of a decision on a Diplomatic Conference.  According to these
countries, ideally next General Assembly should take a decision on the
diplomatic conference.

It is learnt that there are three proposals currently subject to informal
negotiations. 

The first proposal from CEBS seeks a decision on a diplomatic conference.
The second proposal entrusts the decision on diplomatic conference to the
next General Assembly.  The third proposal moots the idea of a
extraordinary session of the Assembly to decide on the diplomatic
conference based on the recommendation of the Standing Committee on
Trademark, Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT).

It is learnt that the CEBS and Group B are insisting that the Assembly
should take a decision on an extraordinary session of the Assembly instead
of entrusting the SCT to decide on an extraordinary session.

On agenda item 34 i.e. matters related to Standing Committee on Copyright
and Related Rights there is an emerging consensus on the language of the
decision to work towards a diplomatic conference on a broadcasting treaty
and limitations and exceptions to copyrights on libraries. However, during
the deliberations the Africa Group demanded the launching of negotiations
on treaty exceptions and limitations related to education materials.

During the night session on 1 October decision language on the decision on
Agenda 30 i.e. governance of WIPO and language on a decision related to
the Committee on WIPO Standards were proposed. However, the President of
the Assembly proposed informal consultations in the absence of consensus.

Some of these informal consultations have not started even at 2 pm at the
time of writing this article.   It is almost certain now that the plenary
session cannot be started at the prescheduled time of 3 pm. The general
mood is to get ready for a long night session.+










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