“IP5” Biggest Patent Offices Meet As WIPO Assembly Proceeds On Policies25/09/2008 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.By William New Top officials from the world’s five biggest patent offices met Wednesday night in Geneva to discuss ways to further harmonise their activities, United States Patent Commissioner John Doll told Intellectual Property Watch. Meanwhile, members of the World Intellectual Property Organization gave direction to committees on enforcement, copyright, and traditional knowledge and genetic resources.“One of the most important things that we can is share each others’ work,” Doll said of the patent offices of the United States, Japan, Europe, Korea and China, all of whom began meeting together last year. “There is no reason why when a Japanese examiner or Korean examiner does a search and an examination that another office doesn’t pick that examination up and that search and possibly build upon it. I’m not saying they should give it full faith and credit at this point, but they should give it some faith and credit and then supplement it if necessary.”The so-called “IP5” were to meet Wednesday to set the parameters for their next meeting, on 27-28 October in Jeju, Korea. Priorities will be on work-sharing, what can be done to harmonise their systems, with particular focus on the search and examination systems, and identifying differences in laws (though he said usually the basic elements of novelty and inventive step are handled the same way in all offices), Doll said in a brief interview on Wednesday. This was Doll’s first visit to WIPO.Patent applications that have been first reviewed by Japan in their bilateral arrangement typically move much faster and are more likely to be approved in the United States. The group also is discussing a common classification system instead of five different systems, so they could share search strategy and logic.But Doll indicated that the big five offices were not likely to try to coordinate on broader harmonisation as sought at the multilateral level through WIPO in the past, and expected to be raised again in the coming year’s resumption of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents. He did point to differences with Europe on grace period.At the annual WIPO General Assembly meeting 22-30 September, there is a generally positive atmosphere with the ready consensus that was reached on the new director general on Monday, but governments are warily watching the issues they care about as contrary moves can be made by others, whether intentional or not. Mistrust can lead to lengthy debate. There also appears to be a trend in planning intersessional meetings during the year, which could put developing countries at a disadvantage since they cannot always afford to come.EnforcementWIPO Deputy Director General Michael Keplinger said no agreement could be reached on future work for the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) even in the days before the assemblies. Regional groups will meet with him in the week after the assemblies and try to agree. Some said the report did not sufficiently reflect discussions at the last meeting that the WIPO Development Agenda be more fully reflected in the committee, and the need for all parties to play a greater role in the selection of speakers at enforcement-related WIPO symposia.Many countries, both developed and developing, called for the committee to take a more central role in global enforcement efforts, but developed countries generally would like it to be more ambitious and developing countries generally want it to remain a discussion forum. Developing countries urged adherence of enforcement activities to the principles of the Development Agenda, particularly Recommendation 45, which relates to technology transfer, as well as locally appropriate approaches to enforcement that boosts innovation.A small concern was raised by the African Group that the secretariat had changed the usual name of the report to the assemblies on activities of the ACE. It was agreed to return to the traditional title, which simply refers to matters related to the committee, and not a broader notion of WIPO enforcement activities.CopyrightOn the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), it was agreed to continue work on a broadcasters’ rights treaty, an audiovisual performances rights treaty, and limitations and exceptions to copyright, plus any other issue that comes up.A variety of governments sought to retain the broadcasting treaty discussion on the agenda, perhaps with cablecasting. Some lamented again that the negotiation was left to rest after an unsuccessful diplomatic conference last year. But several governments said they would be willing only to consider negotiation on the problem of cross-border signal theft.On limitations and exceptions, some governments are eyeing a negotiation for a treaty, while others feel the issue can be addressed largely in national-level laws, and only after analysis would consider international level treatment for specific areas that are not sufficiently addressed. Several delegations mentioned a particular concern for the needs of the blind in accessing information.The audiovisual treaty has been stuck since 2000, but this year seems to be getting a stronger push though resistance is still strong. The SCCR will meet next from 3 to 7 November.Traditional KnowledgeOn the Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), the committee report was agreed with a line restated that that comments will be allowed on the committee’s future work on genetic resources. New WIPO Director General Francis Gurry this week indicated a greater emphasis on results from this longstanding committee.In order to accelerate work, intersessional sessions will be considered. The secretariat also will work on its analyses of the gaps in protection at the national level before the next meeting of the IGC, from 13 to 17 October.There were many demands for an international instrument on the protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. And colourful lobbying may be on the way, as Jamaica said the Rastafarians, known for reggae music, as a group are applying for observer status in the organisation out of interest on these issues.Separately, on the side of the WIPO meeting, the intellectual property offices of Switzerland and Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation on 23 September. The MOU establishes a formal framework for more cooperation and information sharing, with hopes of generating more joint projects and awareness.On Tuesday, the assembly discussed auditor reports, and raised numerous questions on the reports and future work, which the auditors will reply to soon, according to participants.On Thursday, the plenary is expected to turn to the Development Agenda and the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents.William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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"“IP5” Biggest Patent Offices Meet As WIPO Assembly Proceeds On Policies" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.