[A2k] IP-Watch: ‘Bound By Law’, 26 Lisbon Members Say No To Fully Open Diplomatic Conference On GIs

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Sat May 9 03:34:31 PDT 2015


‘Bound By Law’, 26 Lisbon Members Say No To Fully Open Diplomatic
Conference On GIs

07/05/2015 BY CATHERINE SAEZ <http://www.ip-watch.org/author/catherine/>,

The ambassadors of all but two members of a 28-member World Intellectual
Property Organization-administered treaty protecting appellations of origin
said in a letter yesterday that international law requires that only treaty
members participate in next week’s negotiations to add geographical
indications to the treaty.

“[I]n response to the request of some countries to be granted the status of
Member, we would like to emphasise that we are all bound by existing
international law,” the letter states.

The Diplomatic Conference
<http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/details.jsp?meeting_id=35202> for the
Adoption of a New Act of the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of
Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, taking place
from 11-21 May is expected to agree on amending the current agreement so
that it includes geographical indications and allows intergovernmental
organisations to become members of the revised agreement.

The 5 May letter is available here
(in French
The letter was presented with a note verbale
to WIPO for distribution to all non-Lisbon WIPO members by the delegation
of France.

The two Lisbon members not signing were Israel and North Korea.

The letter says the review process of the agreement started in September
2008 through a Working Group on the Development of the Lisbon System and
sessions of such working group “have been systematically open to all
members” of WIPO.

“Rest assured that we will continue to work in the same spirit of dialogue
and transparency throughout the Diplomatic Conference,” the letter says,
adding that Lisbon members will remain open to discuss any proposals from
observers “with the aim of improving the system.”

Concerns have been raised by a number of WIPO members, such as the United
States, Japan, Australia, Canada, and Israel (a Lisbon member) about the
draft rules of procedures preventing the remainder of WIPO members from
fully participating.

The Lisbon members’ letter refers to Article 39 and 40 of the Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties
Article 13 of the Lisbon Agreement
<http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/text.jsp?file_id=285856>, “which provides
that the agreement may be revised by conferences held between the delegates
of the countries of the Special Union.”

“We do hope that you will understand that the Observer status for the
Non-members of the Lisbon system is in conformity with our international
rights and obligations and is not, in any way, questioning our attachment
to the values of inclusiveness and transparency in WIPO negotiation

The United States has criticised the process of the diplomatic conference,
saying it would set a “dangerous precedent” if the rules of procedures were
not amended so that the whole WIPO membership can participate (188 members)
(*IPW*, WIPO, 7 May 2015
The opponents argue that the text on GIs is a new treaty, not an amendment
to Lisbon, giving them the right to participate.

According to Olivier Martin, diplomatic counsellor at the mission of
France, Lisbon members on Monday will present a united front with the aim
of having a successful diplomatic conference and of adopting the draft
rules of procedures without changes.

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