Europe Calls For Continuation Of WIPO Development Agenda Talks 21/07/2005 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The 25 nations of the European Union on Thursday proposed that talks on a stronger development-oriented agenda for the World Intellectual Property Organisation be continued through 2006. The Group of African nations on Thursday also put forward a new list of proposals for consideration at the IIM that are more far-reaching than the EU proposal. The development agenda, originally proposed by Brazil and Argentina and co-sponsored by 12 other so-called Friends of Development, is under debate in the Intersessional Intergovernmental Meeting (IIM) mandated by the WIPO General Assembly in October 2004. The EU proposal is similar to the suggestion by the Friends of Development to hold three more IIMs next year. Member governments are meeting from 20 to 22 July on the proposal, the final of three such three-day gatherings. It differs from the United States-backed proposal to put the development issue into the existing WIPO Permanent Committee on Cooperation for Development Related to Intellectual Property (PCIPD). European governments also proposed that the continuing IIM process be funded primarily from funds allocated for the PCIPD, although it is unclear what this would mean for the future of the PCIPD. The United Kingdom, which took over the EU presidency on 1 July, made the original proposal to relegate development to the PCIPD. The EU proposal lists specific proposals itemized at the second IIM by the meeting chair as having potential for an “early harvest” before tackling more contentious issues. The original chair’s list is available in Annex I of the revised draft WIPO secretariat report from the 20 to 22 June IIM). Phil Thorpe, deputy director of the patents directorate in the UK Patent Office, said outside the closed meeting that proposals were chosen for early harvest if there seemed from discussions to be some degree of agreement. “The intent was to find a compromise way forward that would allow us to address specific issues and move forward,” he said. While many of the harvestable proposals from the EU perspective relate to technical assistance, they also include a proposal for wider participation of civil society, establishment of a system of public hearings and of a code of ethics, all from the Friends of Development proposal. Missing from the EU list are several key Friends of Development proposals, such as to establish a WIPO standing committee on technology transfer, an access to knowledge treaty, an evaluation and research office, and proposals related to norm-setting activities at WIPO. Also on the EU list is the US proposal for a partnership program and database, and several proposals from Bahrain and 10 other Arab states for studies, data and a voluntary contribution fund to promote the “legal, commercial and economic exploitation” of intellectual property rights in developing and least-developed countries. The EU proposal in its entirety states: The European Community and its twenty-five Member States propose that: i. the IIM report recommends to the General Assemblies a renewal of the IIM process until July 2006; ii. the further IIM process be financed essentially by any funding set aside in the 2006-07 Programme and Budget for the PCIPD; iii. a sub-set of proposals should be considered during this process and this sub-set should be kept to a limited number, comprising those issues: a. which are “ripe for harvest”, that is, on which provisional agreement could be reached most rapidly; or b. which need to be considered first to inform consideration of other proposals; iv. the sub-set should include a cross section of the proposals submitted and that proposals 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20 and 21 from the Chairman’s original list satisfy the above criteria; v. the remaining proposals would be placed on a list which would remain open; and vi. the 2006 General Assemblies should consider the report of this renewed IIM process. The lengthier African Group proposal is more wide-ranging, calling for instance for WIPO “to contribute effectively to individual nations’ self-reliance by relaxing patent rules on technology and facilitating access to foreign patented information on technology. It also calls for WIPO to adopt an “internationally binding instrument” on the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore. The African proposal also calls for stronger national capacity for patenting of local innovations; more donor funding; a new technology transfer body within WIPO; an evaluation mechanism to conduct annual assessments of WIPO’s development-related activities, requests assistance in stemming the outflow from Africa of highly skilled workers (so-called brain drain); the establishment of a trust fund for least-developed countries; and intensified WIPO cooperation with all UN agencies. These proposals and others will be discussed on Friday. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "Europe Calls For Continuation Of WIPO Development Agenda Talks" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.