Committee On WIPO Standards Stumbles Over Development Agenda 20/05/2014 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 3 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The World Intellectual Property Organization technical committee working on standards to facilitate work of intellectual property offices and their communication had to adjourn its fourth session last week for lack of agreement on the committee’s relationship to the 2007 Development Agenda of the organisation. The fourth session of the Committee on WIPO Standards (CWS) met from 12-16 May. Delegates spent most of the week in informal consultations trying to agree on an agenda item, to no avail. The Development Agenda Group (DAG) countries had requested that a standing agenda item on the contribution of the CWS to the implementation of the respective WIPO Development Agenda recommendations, be added to the draft agenda [pdf]. This is a request that the DAG has made at the onset of each session of the CWS. The issue is a recurrent sore point of the CWS. The very first session of the committee in 2010 was suspended for the same reason (IPW, WIPO, 1 November 2010). The request of the DAG is usually resisted by developed countries, which contend that the CWS is a technical committee and as such cannot be considered as a “relevant WIPO body” as described in the Coordination Mechanism of the WIPO Committee on Intellectual Property and Development (CDIP). According to a decision by the WIPO General Assembly on Coordination Mechanisms and Monitoring, Assessing and Reporting Modalities, all relevant WIPO bodies, should establish a CDIP standing agenda item. The CWS “was established with the intention of coordinating the industrial property information activities of WIPO member states, thereby promoting international exchange of data relating to industrial property documents,” according to WIPO. A WIPO official said the CWS is approving non-binding recommendations to be used by IP offices and other users of IP information, to facilitate exchange of data and documents. These recommendations include, for example, standards on data structures, to ease electronic communications, or standards on IP document presentation, he told Intellectual Property Watch. Group B developed countries expressed their preference for adopting the draft agenda as proposed, while the African Group supported the DAG. CWS Chair Oksana Parkheta from Ukraine proposed to provisionally adopt the agenda with the exception of item 4, “Decision of the 44th session of the WIPO General Assembly in relation to the CWS.” Item 4 relates to pending matters needing further discussion in the CWS. The chair’s proposal did not meet consensus and the plenary broke for informal consultations to try to reach agreement. According to sources, some proposals were made during the consultations, such as amending the title of agenda Item 4 so that it specifies the coordination mechanism but that could not be agreed on either. Informal consultations were held by Panama Ambassador Alfredo Suescum, vice-chair of the CWS, who had to admit defeat when at the end of the week, no consensus was to be found. At mid-week, he said some delegations showed little flexibility while others stood in absolute positions. By Friday, Suescum said that some countries held to “mutually exclusive” positions. According to sources, the mood was bitter as a number of delegations expressed disappointment that experts had been dispatched from capital and not able to work on the rest of the agenda items. Those include, for example, a new WIPO Standard [pdf] on the presentation of nucleotide and amino acid sequence listings using eXtensible Markup Language (XML), and a status report [pdf] on the preparation of a proposal to establish a new WIPO standard for the exchange of patent legal status data by industrial property offices. On the remainder of the agenda items, 5 to 17, informal discussions took place and consensus was found on almost all of them, according to the WIPO official, but this consensus could not be translated to decisions, in the absence of agreement on the agenda, he said. Suescum and Parkheta called for delegations, at mid-week, to reach their capitals and request instructions which could ease the deadlock. But no solutions could be found. It was decided that technical experts could hold informal discussions on items 5-17 of the agenda, so to take advantage of their presence in Geneva. By Friday, the agenda was still not adopted. Suescum proposed that the meeting be adjourned, informal consultations be held to try to settle the issue, and that the CWS be only reconvened upon a positive outcome of the consultations. The chair endorsed the proposal, which was agreed upon by the committee. According to the WIPO official, Suescum is expected to chair those informal consultations, and a report on the CWS should be presented at the General Assembly. According to several sources, this unfortunate turn of event might be a death blow to the CWS. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Committee On WIPO Standards Stumbles Over Development Agenda" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.