Ambassadors Meet Outside WTO To Discuss TRIPS Negotiations 24/09/2010 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 2 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. More than a dozen ambassadors to the World Trade Organization met today at the New Zealand mission in Geneva to discuss the state of negotiations related to intellectual property rights and trade. According to government sources, the meeting was organised by WTO member states outside the WTO after years of difficult efforts in talks under the responsibility of the WTO Director General. Some 15 or 16 ambassadors were expected to attend, likely from WTO members such as Brazil, China, European Union, India, and the United States, among which are proponents of the proposed changes under consideration. Proposals have been on the table for several years that would change the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). At issue in the Doha Round of trade talks launched in Qatar in 2001 are two topics related to geographical indications, or products names derived from places or specific regional characteristics, and one related to biodiversity. Under TRIPS Article 22, geographical indications have to be protected. Under TRIPS Art. 23, wines and spirits are given a higher level of protection. Proponents would like to extend the higher level of protection to other products. A separate item formally part of the Doha Round is the mandated creation of a GI register. Three proposals have been put forward: one by the EU in 2005 calling for the TRIPS agreement to be amended; a joint proposal document submitted also in 2005 and revised in 2008 by Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Paraguay, South Africa, Taiwan, the United States, proposing to set up a voluntary system where notified GIs would be registered in a database; and a Hong Kong “compromise” proposal less ambitious than the EU proposal, according to the WTO. On the third TRIPS topic, Brazil, India and others have proposed an amendment to TRIPS to require the disclosure of origin of genetic resources used in patent applications, as an attempt to stop biopiracy. While a majority of WTO members support negotiations on these issues, all of the issues have met with resistance from countries that see little gain in either and also have been victim of the larger stalemate in the WTO round. Under the “cocktail” approach, WTO members have been holding dedicated meetings outside the WTO in recent months on core topics under negotiation in the Doha Round, but as a representative of one participating country put it, “they wanted to make a bigger cake” in order to increase possibilities for tradeoffs. But although information on the outcome of the morning meeting was difficult to obtain, another representative said it was unlikely that ambassadors would move off of their countries’ positions in this meeting today. “I don’t think it would be wise for any negotiators to show their cards at this point,” the official said. Rather, they should wait for movement in the non-agricultural market access or agricultural market access talks. William New may be reached at email@example.com."Ambassadors Meet Outside WTO To Discuss TRIPS Negotiations" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.