Semicolon Leads To Breakthrough In Long-Stalled Negotiations 01/04/2010 by Intellectual Property Watch 3 Comments IP-Watch is 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. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate. By Martin Frobisher for Intellectual Property Watch Applause burst from the plenary chamber this week as delegates at last found, in a semicolon, the solution to a long-running and at times sharply divided multilateral negotiation. At issue was a procedural way forward on modalities for decision-making in parameters for informal consultations about an ongoing formal meeting process, sources told Intellectual Property Watch. Procedural matters hold great significance in diplomacy; in this one, debate over the intellectual property issue had been ongoing for over a decade. Calling the consensus “historic,” a delegate leaving the meeting said that “what we have achieved today” is the “bold move” of uniting in one sentence what had previously been two separate ideas. This, she added, “is what an international organisation is meant to do.” Assembled delegates were much more cheerful than at an early 2007 meeting intended to solve the issue; there, an overly ambitious push by some members to employ a full colon led to a particularly vitriolic failure to reach agreement that pushed the committee into a several-year-long process of gathering technical data and statistics about how the UN and related bodies make procedural plans. At a side event to that meeting, a non-governmental agency advocating for technical standards in linguistics had suggested the semicolon as a possible solution to the long-stalled procedural debate. At the time it was seen as a radical suggestion and unlikely to work. The group, the Camp@ign for Punctuation Standards!!!, works on matters of neglected and other newly developed punctuation marks. The side event discussion was “very rich,” said commentators, which sparked in some local journalists a desire to find new adjectives to describe the humour being practiced upon, and by, them, sources said. ;) "Semicolon Leads To Breakthrough In Long-Stalled Negotiations" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.