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    Inside Views
    Inside Views: IPRs And The WTO’s New Brazilian President: Heading South, Hopefully Up

    Published on 8 May 2013 @ 6:15 pm

    Disclaimer: the views expressed in this column are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors.

    Intellectual Property Watch

    By Benny Spiewak

    The new Director General of the World Trade Organization has been announced: Brazilian Ambassador H.E. Roberto Azevedo. Two candidates were in the final running for the position. Both of them were Latin Americans. This alone was a fact is to be celebrated, as the most relevant multilateral trade-related forum was about to be headed by an emerging economy national.

    The new scenario might possibly change not only the way trade works, but also the tools it uses to operate, including the intellectual property system. Whilst equal on paper, the underlying rationales supporting the implementation of IP-related policies are absolutely different in the developed and developing economies. An emerging economy leader to the WTO is likely to highlight that.

    For starters, it is fair to assume an emerging economy-driven IP policy will be highlighted like never before, including: technology-transfer topics; the traditional knowledge and genetic resources agenda, including the interplay between IP and biodiversity aspects; broader impact of copyright exceptions and a lesser enthusiastic agenda concerning new IP regimes, e.g., a broadcast treaty.

    The election of the Brazilian candidate awards an individual who is energetic, skilful and highly experienced in all WTO-related matters, having headed the Permanent Mission of Brazil in Geneva and guided the delegation of Brazil in many high-profile dispute settlement cases. Ambassador Azevedo represents the emerging economies’ soft power at its best.

    For instance, the candidate headed the Brazilian Mission at the WTO during the remarkable, game-changing case on US subsidies on upland cotton. In a nutshell, according to the decision issued in that case, the WTO arbitrators authorised Brazil to adopt countermeasures facing the US not only in goods, but also on services and intellectual property, which have not been implemented yet.

    Objectively an outstanding victory for Brazil as one of the biggest supporters of the IP system, the US would have little room to challenge Brazil´s certain measures affecting the local IP system, e.g., the decision to confirm (link in Portuguese) the National Regulatory Authority’s (ANVISA) authority over patentability criteria of pharmaceutical-related products and processes.

    To the extent most developing economies rely on universal healthcare systems, i.e., in which the government is the single most important player and buyer of therapies, the recent Brazilian move could clear the path for similar strategies, as developed by other emerging economy states. How is an emerging economy leader of the WTO likely to address such trends?

    An emerging economy leader is likely to share a more proactive perspective when it comes to the full implementation of the Development Agenda, i.e., the so-called balanced assessment of IP and social needs may start pending more assertively towards an access to knowledge-like arrangement. Finally, geographic indications may lose its vital importance to certain economies, as emerging economy countries are still struggling to develop their local policies guiding recognition of regional and special goods and services.

    Nationally, the election of the Brazilian candidate could push forward certain initiatives, such as the long-awaited adhesion of Brazil to the Madrid Protocol, a component of the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, as well as more structured, funded pro-IP activities. As the director of the free trade world, Brazil needs to lead by example.

    The next Director General of the WTO will face enormous challenges, including those related to the paths of the global IP system. One of the most critical tests is the one concerning the effective combination of innovation and intellectual property. While pushing for stronger innovative industries, emerging economies are extremely cautious and often times negative when it comes to discussing IP.

    An emerging economy leader of the WTO must rationally address the importance of this combination, rather than battling for their segregation. Hopefully, the IP system will benefit from the upcoming samba approach, rather than becoming a target.

    Benny Spiewak is a partner and head of the Intellectual Property, Life Sciences and Emerging Technology practice at the Sao Paulo-based ZCBS law firm. 

     


    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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