[Ip-health] IP-Watch: WTO Discussions On Non-Violation Complaints Might Be Near Consensus, Sources Say

Zack Struver zack.struver at keionline.org
Tue Nov 17 12:52:37 PST 2015


WTO Discussions On Non-Violation Complaints Might Be Near Consensus,
Sources Say


Last month, the World Trade Organization committee on intellectual property
was suspended over two contentious items. One item left open is the
proposed extension of a moratorium which leaves intellectual property
outside of a mechanism through which one WTO member can go after another
despite no violation of a WTO agreement. According to sources, a solution
might be within reach.

The other item was the extension of a waiver for least-developed countries,
which reached conclusion earlier this month (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 6 November

The moratorium on non-violation complaints, which refer to situations were
country A can start a dispute with country B if country A feels that
country B has taken an action depriving A from expected trade benefits,
even without having breached any WTO rules, is coming to an end in December.

The majority of WTO members are in favour of extending the moratorium
indefinitely while the United States and Switzerland in the Council on
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) have been
resisting it.

According to sources, proponents of the indefinite extension of the
moratorium have been regularly meeting with the United States and
Switzerland since the last TRIPS Council (15-16 October) and a solution
might be soon found.

A meeting is expected to take place tomorrow morning with the US and
Switzerland to continue to try to find a solution, according to a source.

If there is agreement, the TRIPS Council session would then be reconvened
to approve a recommendation to be given to the WTO Ministerial Conference
next month. A target might be to do it before the 30 November General
Council meeting, a source said.

US Fair Use Exceptions at Risk?

According to a letter recently sent by James Love of Knowledge Ecology
International to negotiator George York at the Office of the United States
Trade Representative, there are concerns that non-violation complaints
“will put US fair use exceptions for copyright exceptions at risk, given
how liberally the exceptions have been used by the public, libraries,
educators, students, users of social networks, and by search engines.”

Non-violation complaints might also “make it unclear what countries can do
to use exceptions to patent rights or measures like price controls to have
access to affordable medicines,” the letter said.

“This would include the proposals by Senator Sanders to change the way
drugs are acquired by the Veterans Administration, the 340B program for
drug discounts, and some proposed reforms of the registration procedures
for biologic drugs, including proposals to require more transparency of
manufacturing know how,” KEI said in the letter.

Zack Struver, Communications and Research Associate
Knowledge Ecology International
zack.struver at keionline.org
Twitter: @zstruver <https://twitter.com/zstruver>
Office: +1 (202) 332-2670 Cell: +1 (914) 582-1428

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