WIPO Development Committee Completes Work; Creates Technical Cooperation Review GroupPublished on 18 November 2011 @ 11:54 pm
By William New, Intellectual Property Watch
The World Intellectual Property Organization Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) successfully completed its eighth session tonight, making progress on a range of projects and agreeing to set up an ad hoc working group to examine an external report on the UN agency’s global provision of technical assistance.
The CDIP met from 14-18 November, and worked through a complex agenda of numerous documents and issues that constitute the implementation of the 2007 Development Agenda. Documents for this week’s meeting are here.
The committee agreed on a meeting summary by the chair, Ambassador Abdul Hannan of Bangladesh, making late changes to the text that were not reflected in writing at the end of the meeting. A copy of the latest paper copy of the draft chair’s summary is here [pdf].
Several items in the chair’s summary were changed from this last print version, including items 5, 10, and 18 (all of which show incompletion).
On item 5 in the chair’s summary, which relates to a description of the contribution of relevant WIPO bodies to the implementation of Development Agenda recommendations (document CDIP/8/6), the clause [note: official language to be confirmed] was completed to say: “… the Committee agreed to continue consultations at the level of Group Coordinators and interested delegations in the intervening period before its next session. The Committee agreed to continue discussions on the document at its next session,” according to participants. But clarifications were also made to say that consultations will be on the coordination mechanism for the Development Agenda implementation, and not document CDIP/8/6.
Item 10 relates an “External Review of WIPO Technical Assistance in the Area of Cooperation for Development,” document CDIP/8/INF/1, and it was agreed to set up an ad hoc working group to go through the text. The group was given modalities to follow, available here [pdf] (and also in the draft chair’s summary), which were somewhat changed from draft modalities circulated earlier in the day (IPW, WIPO, 18 November 2011).
The modalities include being open to regional coordinators and other interested delegates (it is unclear if this includes non-governmental observers) and facilitated by the WIPO secretariat. There will be no additional budget for the group, the secretariat will provide some response to the report to feed into the group, and the group will meet between now and the next CDIP meeting, to take place in May. At least one day will be set aside in the next CDIP to discuss the report and analysis. It was emphasised by the United States and possibly others that setting up the working group does not represent a precedent as this is a unique case of a long report received by members shortly before the meeting.
On item 18 of the chair’s summary, pertaining to document CDIP/6/12/Rev., on a proposal for a CDIP new agenda on IP and development – a carryover from two CDIP meetings ago – developing countries said they were “disappointed” that the agenda item was again put off till the next meeting.
Overall during the week, according to participants, the committee spent significant time on document CDIP/8/2, which covered progress reports on projects and Development Agenda recommendations. Some concern was expressed by members over work falling behind schedule, or having unspent budget resources. A table showing the work and budget status of various projects was circulated during the week, and is available here [pdf].
This document was referenced in item 4, and a late sentence was added to the chair’s draft. Pakistan on behalf of the Asian Group proposed to add a line, slightly modified in floor discussion that said[to be confirmed in official form]: “While taking note of the tabulated paper on project reports, the committee stressed the need for timely compliance of all the ongoing projects and optimum utilization of resources allocated.”
On CDIP/7/INF/2, a scoping study on copyright and related rights and the public domain, the committee discussed the document which carried over from the last CDIP session, and asked the secretariat for more information on three of the 15 recommendations.
The three recommendations under consideration are:
C.1 (c) The voluntary relinquishment of copyright in the works and dedication to the public domain should be recognised as a legitimate exercise of authorship and copyright exclusivity, to the extent permitted by national laws (possibly excluding any abandonment of moral rights) and upon the condition of a formally expressed, informed and free consent of the author. Further research could certainly be carried out on that point.
(f) International endeavours should be devoted to developing technical or informational tools to identify the contents of the public domain, particularly as far as the duration of copyright is concerned. Such tools can be data collections on works, databases of public domain works, or public domain calculators. International cross-operation and cross-referencing of such tools is of particular importance.
2. (a) The availability of the public domain should be enhanced, notably through cooperation with cultural heritage institutions and UNESCO (through its work on the preservation of intangible cultural heritage).
The document CDIP/7/INF/2 will be held open for discussion and possible implementation for next meeting.
Other areas of work during the week included modifying the text of a paper, document CDIP/8/3, from the secretariat on intellectual property and informal economy. A key modification was to remove from the paper’s focus specific attention to counterfeiting and piracy, and to keep the focus on innovation and the informal sector. The marked-up version is available here.
The committee also substantially revised a project on patents and the public domain, document CDIP/7/5. The revised, marked-up version is available here.
The late but successful conclusion of the eighth session was seen as positive after the last session ended in a suspension of the meeting and had to be finished at the start of this week (IPW, WIPO, 15 November 2011).
“The suspension last time was a matter of disappointment,” Irfan Baloch, secretary to the CDIP and director of the WIPO Development Agenda Coordination Division, told Intellectual Property Watch afterward. “In multilaterism, you have to keep in mind there has to be compromise.”
Boumediene Mahi of the Algerian delegation, who represented the Development Agenda Group this week, told Intellectual Property Watch afterward that, “In general, the CDIP is working well, making good progress.” He said the group has agreed to many projects, but “We still have many things to do.” Generally speaking, though, he said, “We are satisfied with the progress of the group.”
William New may be reached at email@example.com.