[Ip-health] Intellectual Property Watch: Ambassadors Meet Outside WTO To Discuss TRIPS Negotiations

Thiru Balasubramaniam 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  
meeting today.

“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  
access talks.


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

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