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    The Hunt Is On To Advance Or End Development Agenda At WIPO

    Published on 24 February 2006 @ 12:34 am

    Intellectual Property Watch

    By Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen and William New

    Nations negotiating on a range of proposals to increase the development dimension at the World Intellectual Property Organization are divided over ways to either advance or conclude the talks.

    The first proposal for a WIPO reform agenda for development came in autumn 2004, and a steady stream of proposals has followed. Now as the first of two weeklong meetings of the Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda comes to a close, how governments choose to proceed could decide the fate of the development agenda.

    Consultations with the chair about clustering the more than 50 proposals in categories led Thursday to a generally accepted draft chair’s paper with six headings. Overnight, governments must choose under which headings their proposals belong.

    The headings are: technical assistance and capacity building; norm-setting, flexibilities, public policy and public domain; technology transfer, information and communication technology and access to knowledge; assessments, evaluation and impact studies; institutional matters including mandate and governance; and other issues.

    A general strategy of the Group B industrialised countries appears to be to wrap up the talks in this year, and to limit the substantive changes to WIPO’s mandate or operations.

    A key element of the strategies is how individual proposals will be treated after the clustering. Group B members have generally maintained all week that proposals should be treated one at a time and should only move forward with consensus. They also have shown reluctance for WIPO’s mandate to be reworked.

    Lead US delegate Paul Salmon of the US Patent and Trademark Office told the meeting that the 2005 WIPO General Assembly’s mandate in creating the provisional committee was that it accelerate and complete the process of discussing the proposals. He said it was expected that the committee make recommendations to the assembly, but that it was not to recommend a program of work. He stated that under clustering, proposals without full support should not be brought forward, with an eye toward avoiding “continuing indefinitely” discussion of proposals.

    A US official also indicated that since the deadline for new proposals passed on Monday, it would not be appropriate for originators of proposals to modify them now. This could make it difficult for different proposals to be converged.

    Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the group supports the principle of grouping proposals, and suggested grouping those with consensus apart from those needing more discussion.

    Meanwhile, the 15 Friends of Development, whose proposals originated with Brazil and Argentina, appear to be seeking a convergence of proposals (including reworking WIPO’s mandate to make it more development-oriented), and a decision to move ahead with the talks.

    Debate is focused on whether the proposals should be placed under the clusters in a horizontal or vertical fashion. The main difference appears to be that a vertical list might lead to proposals being addressed one at a time, whereas a horizontal treatment might lead to a melding of proposals. Proposals are likely to be listed without reference to their origin, but the meeting chairman said there might be a document also listing the original proposals and their origin to pass on to the General Assembly.

    Despite objections by several developed countries to taking more time for a comparative analysis of proposals, the chair chose to circulate a chart drafted by Argentina that shows four headings (instead of five) with space for relevant proposals by origin laid out side by side beneath. In this document, the issue of mandate and governance was first instead of last (as in the chair’s draft), although all sides seem to agree that the order of listing is not significant.

    While the chairman indicated proposals would likely only appear under one category each, Pakistan said there are cross-cutting proposals for which more flexibility might be needed for placement. Some other governments agreed.

    Separately on Thursday, several non-governmental organisations were upset after meeting chairman Rigoberto Gauto Vielman of Paraguay cut them off in their floor presentations, saying they were off the subject of the development agenda or too long-winded. Vielman, who sources said referred to one presentation as “propaganda,” later apologized profusely for any offense.

    Disagreement on Whether Piracy Belongs in Development Agenda

    Thursday morning discussions focused on the US proposal, but there was disagreement among delegates on whether the issues of counterfeiting and piracy mentioned in the proposal belonged in the development agenda at all. Separately, the chairman continued working on a list of topics under which the proposals would be organised.

    The US proposal contains six suggestions with the last one focusing on “counterfeiting and intellectual property piracy: development’s antonym.”

    At one point, the Romanian delegate took the floor and referenced anti-counterfeiting initiatives in Brazil. The Brazilian delegate responded that Brazil believes such measures are important but there is another WIPO committee dealing with these issues although WIPO does not have any enforcement mandate. Brazil does not consider these issues to be development issues, he said.

    The Brazilian delegate also said he found it unusual that Romania was citing anti-counterfeiting measures carried out in Latin America, to which the Romanian delegate replied that he had also highlighted domestic efforts.

    China echoed the Brazilian position, arguing that if the issue of counterfeiting was brought in, it would weaken the PCDA discussion on development.

    A number of countries welcomed suggestions in the US proposals, however. Australia and Panama said they supported the US proposal of a WIPO partnership office seeking out all potential partners such as non-governmental organizations that could help countries move towards a knowledge economy.

    The Nigerian chair of the African Group told Intellectual Property Watch that the group had no opinion on the counterfeiting issue at this point as it feared discussing this issue in plenary could distract the delegates from the development agenda. Such issues could be discussed with individual countries, the spokesperson said.

    But the African Group welcomed the US proposal and said it would fall under the categories technical assistance and information and communications technology (ICT).

    Separately in the morning, there were also suggestions that the WIPO secretariat should suggest which proposals would be realistic to take forward from a budgetary and staff point of view. Some countries such as Argentina disagreed with this view, saying that it was a political task of the member countries and not the secretariat to decide which proposals should be put forward. The possible concern was that budgetary constraints might be used to try to trim proposals.

    Categories: Features, Development, English, WIPO

     

    Comments

    1. FFII WIPO workgroup: Draft says:

      [...] 1, 2 [...]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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