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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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    Hope To Advance Industrial Design Treaty At WIPO Meets Reluctance From Developing Countries

    Published on 19 September 2012 @ 12:57 am

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry set the tone at the 18 September opening of a WIPO committee on industrial designs, calling on countries to keep the treaty-signing momentum built up last June with the adoption of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. However, developing countries have been reluctant to engage in an international treaty on industrial designs and this week delegates will have to agree on how to pursue discussions on the subject.

    The 27th session of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) is taking place from 18-21 September. The highlight of the agenda is the further discussions on draft articles of a potential treaty on industrial designs, and a study put together by WIPO on request of member states to evaluate potential negative effects of such a treaty on developing countries.

    “The General Assembly last year set as one of the targets the convening of a diplomatic conference for the adoption of an international treaty on the law of industrial designs, subject to sufficient progress in the preparatory work,” said Gurry. This committee, he said, successfully completed the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, encouraging delegates to follow suit.

    Industrial design refers to the aesthetic aspects of an item.

    The instrument meant to be discussed this week is considered by developed countries merely as a way to simplify registration procedures and help in particular individuals and small- and medium-sized companies applying for registration worldwide, a harmonisation they say would serve innovation and economic growth.

    Developing countries, meanwhile, have said that such a treaty is premature, would primarily serve rights holders in developed countries, and would generate extra cost and a need for developing countries to amend their current legislations.

    WIPO Study Welcomed but with Reservations

    At the 26th session of the SCT, the Development Agenda Group (DAG) and the African Group, supported by a number of other developing countries, asked that a study be prepared by the WIPO secretariat with the involvement of WIPO Chief Economist Carsten Fink on the impact of the draft articles and draft regulations on industrial designs law and practice on developing countries. In particular, developing countries were interested in finding out the ratio between costs and benefits.

    On the first day, delegates discussed the study [pdf] after a presentation by Fink and the WIPO secretariat, with mixed reactions. Some developing countries, such as the DAG and the African Group, said the study was lacking key elements of the terms of reference and needed to be extended. A number of other countries said it was an interesting and useful tool for discussions at the SCT. The study found that in order to implement the treaty, should it be adopted, developing countries would need legal support, and support in information technology and infrastructure.

    Among the questions directed to the secretariat were: the World Bank classification of countries used by WIPO in the study, the comparison with other treaties, the hiring of a consultant for the study without consultation with member states, and the lack of description of specific needs of developing countries and some estimation of the costs involved by the changes proposed in the draft articles and regulations.

    Also mentioned was the relative low number of complete answers to the questionnaire WIPO used to collect data from IP offices around the world for the study, and the complexity of the questionnaire which might have prevented applicants from providing answers.

    WIPO replied that resource constraints had led to the hiring of an outside consultant to do the study and help the secretariat with presentation of the results. An experienced consultant who had published similar research was chosen. The comparison with other treaties, WIPO said, was destined to provide a benchmark to help IP offices to evaluate potential consequences linked to the implementation of a potential new treaty, based on their experience of previous treaties.

    On the World Bank classification, Fink said that there was no adequate UN country classification list for the purpose and the secretariat felt it would be inappropriate to decide itself which country belonged to which group, so it was decided to use the income-based World Bank classification.

    The questionnaire was, according to Fink, “the most complex survey ever conducted by WIPO.” But trying to avoid that level of complexity might have created a risk of not meeting the terms of reference of the study, Marcus Höpperger, WIPO director of trademark and design law division, said.

    In the afternoon, delegates began the arduous work on the two elements of the potential treaty: draft articles [pdf] and the draft regulations [pdf].

    “The two-tier structure is inspired by similar instruments, namely the Patent Law Treaty and the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks,” Höpperger told Intellectual Property Watch. “The main purpose of this structure is to establish a dynamic framework whereby a future assembly of future contracting parties will have the possibility to amend the regulations, but not necessarily the articles, adapting to an evolving environment.”

    Protection of Country Names

    Also on the agenda of this week’s meeting is the protection of country names against registration or use as trademarks. Two documents are on the table: a proposal by the delegations of Barbados and Jamaica [pdf], and a proposal by the delegation of Jamaica [pdf]. Jamaica on its own is proposing a work programme to be carried out by the WIPO secretariat, including “an empirical review of the status of the legitimate and illegitimate use, as well as all available protection” of country names.

    The SCT should also address the trademark-related aspects of the expansion of the internet domain name system (DNS). The WIPO secretariat was tasked at the 26th session of the SCT with the preparation of an update [pdf] on developments in the context of the expansion of the DNS planned by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Of particular concern are the introduction of over one thousand new generic top-level domains and the introduction of internationalised domain names at the top level, according to WIPO.

    ICANN has requested [pdf] to be an observer in sessions of the SCT and its application was successfully accepted by member states today.

    Finally, a World Health Organization representative this week is scheduled to give a presentation of the WHO global data hub for International Nonproprietary Names for Pharmaceutical Substances (INNs).

    “Work on International Nonproprietary Names for Pharmaceutical Substances in the SCT goes back to the first session of the SCT and it aims at a better diffusion of INN-related information to trademark registration authorities of WIPO Member States in order to prevent the registration of INNs as trademarks,” Höpperger said.

    “The SCT secretariat collaborates with the WHO secretariat in making available to trademark administrations updated lists of WHO approved INNs,” he said.

    At the onset of the session, Imre Gonda of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office was reelected as chair of the SCT. Andrés Guggiana from the permanent mission of Chile and Ahlem Sara Charilehi from the permanent mission of Algeria were elected as vice-chairs.

    Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


    Leave a Reply

    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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