[Ip-health] IGC25: General statement of Australia (22 July 2013)

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Jul 22 07:30:00 PDT 2013



22 July 2013

This was the statement delivered by Australia (Ian Goss, General Manager,
IP Australia) on Monday, 22 July 2013.

Australian Statement

"Thank you chair

Firstly, I will begin with a negative, last week was perhaps the most
frustrating of our meetings this year, in contrast to significant progress
on Gr's [genetic resources] with disclosure proponents agreeing on an
administrative approach to disclosure rather than substantive examination,
this was a significant shift in position from a number key countries.

I would also note in contrast, the gr meeting was also able in contrast to
this to reduce a significant number of principles and objectives, to just
two, Core objective.

In addition, whilst TK [traditional knowledge] did not make as much
progress, reflecting similar core policy issues to TCE [traditional
cultural expression], it was conducted in a very positive spirit, with
robust but respectful discussions, and compromise evident in the

If we are to move forward we will need to better capture the spirit of
these meetings than last week.

In particular, we need to come prepared to discuss core policy issues of
substance and engage collaboratively with each other, and not use the
excuse that I must contact capital.

At this stage in the negotiations, I would hope member states are
appropriately represented by capital or Geneva based staff of sufficient
seniority, technical and policy competence, and authority to negotiate
based on a clear negotiating strategy, in good faith.

I would also ask that member states not divide our negotiations into a
north south debate, the issues cross development status and regional
status, as I have stated many times before Australia whilst considered a
developed country has much in common with developing countries, we are mega
diverse, an importer of knowledge and have a strong vibrant indigenous
people's, many who are still struggling to overcome the social problems
resulting from our past.

Regards the status of the current negotiations, Australia aligns itself
with the statement made by Group B.

Clearly, more work is required and we support the renewal of the Mandate
for a further two years with a view to continuing our work in a balanced
way on each of the three topics with a stocktake prior to the 2014 GA to
review progress.

I will now highlight the key areas we believe we need to focus on across
the three areas.

In the broad we need to consolidate the objectives across the three subject
matter areas,

Australia's view is that one consolidated list of objectives across the
three subject areas, rather than create different lists, would help to
focus our work on core outcomes.

Also we believe their is merit in starting to develop a declaratory
statement, as a preamble to our work which reflects our intent and provides
linkages to related international agreements such as the CBD and UNDRIP.

Importantly it should be a demonstration of our commitment to the key
stakeholders in these negotiations indigenous people's.

Regards the status of the current negotiations.

In relation to GRs, the core normative issue is disclosure, there is no
disagreement regards the need for defensive measures as proposed in the
joint recommendation tabled by some members, as they would be required to
underpin any normative approach. It. Should be noted however that this
proposal addresses prior art in examination and does not address the key
issue of concern to most members, that those using genetic resources and
traditional knowledge in innovation should be able to transparently
indicate in patent applications that they have complied with laws on abs
[access and benefit sharing].

The critical issue blocking progress is a lack of consensus in relation to
a disclosure mechanism. Key concerns relate to the potential burden on the
ip system and business, and unintended consequences, which could create
uncertainty in the ip system, and limit access to Gr and associated TK,
impeding innovation and achievement of economic benefits.

This should be the focus of our Gr discussions, to develop a disclosure
approach which addresses these concerns whilst achieving the objectives of
the text. I note that many arguments against disclosure reflect a dated
position not based on what is on the table, a administrative approach not
based on substantive examination. I hope that Members will reflect on this
and come prepared for future meetings focused on what is on the table and
achieving an outcome which balances the different interests.

In relation to TK and TCE, it is clear that there is consensus regards
protecting moral rights. However, significant work remains in developing an
approach which addresses economic rights, whilst balancing the needs of the
users and holders, and takes account of the different national
environments, including legal environment and environment in which
indigenous people's and local communities operate in.

One size will not fit all, critical will be establishing a flexible
agreement which provides implementation flexibility at the national level.

Across both subject matters we have common key issues which we still need
to find common ground on, as reflected in discussions last week,
definitions, beneficiaries, scope of protection and exceptions and
limitations, a key issues we will need to address is the impact on publicly
available information and how to address diffused knowledge.

>From Australia's perspective we see merit in combining these text which
also reflects the view of our indigenous stakeholders, noting TCEs are an
expression of traditional knowledge and do not stand alone.

It is inefficient to continually cover the same ground at different

Lastly, I would like to offer some key words which should reflect the
characteristics of our negotiations into the future, if they are to be

- balance
- flexibility
- substance
- shared understanding, including engagement with key stakeholders,
indigenous people's and users.

And perhaps most important of all maturity and political will,

Thank you chair"

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