TRIPS Council Next Week: Tobacco, Innovation, Non-Violations, Public Health Review 22/10/2014 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment 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 next meeting of the World Trade Organization Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is scheduled to take place on 28-29 October. In addition to the regular agenda items of the Council, two additional agenda items have been submitted by members, relating to tobacco plain packaging and innovation. The first additional agenda item is a proposal to discuss “intellectual property and innovation: promoting awareness; case studies.” It has been proposed by the European Union, Switzerland and the United States. This item is part of a series of discussions on intellectual property and innovation in the TRIPS Council. And Ukraine has submitted a request for an agenda item on “concerns with respect to measures related to plain packaging of tobacco products and their compatibility with the TRIPS Agreement.” Ukraine is one of five countries that have logged a complaint against Australia for legislation requiring plain packaging for tobacco products as a way to discourage tobacco use. The five cases are being considered under a single panel (IPW, WTO, 26 April 2014). Among the allegations is that the legislation harms trademark rights. The question of a moratorium on non-violation complaints is also expected to be discussed at the TRIPS Council. Non-violation complaints refer to the ability of a government to bring a dispute to the WTO, based on loss of an expected benefit caused by another member’s actions, even if no WTO agreement or commitment has been violated, according to the WTO. The moratorium on non-violation complaints under TRIPS has been extended several times. But the decision of the December Bali WTO ministerial meeting includes a request that WTO members decide by the 2015 WTO ministerial whether to make the moratorium permanent, or allow non-violation complaints under TRIPS (IPW, WTO, 12 June 2014). Also on the agenda are two annual reviews, one on a 2003 TRIPS waiver that allows countries to export more medicines made under compulsory licence to countries lacking drug manufacturing capabilities. WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo underlined this decision as “a new pathway for access to medicines for countries confronted with limited or no production capacity,” in a speech of 20 October (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 21 October 2014). However, the 2003 mechanism, which was approved as formal TRIPS amendment in 2005, has only been used once. The other annual review is about a commitment of developed countries to create incentives for technology transfer for the benefit of least-developed countries. This has historically been an issue of importance to developing countries as it was considered one of the conditions for them to agree to join TRIPS. Image Credits: Catherine Saez 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 firstname.lastname@example.org."TRIPS Council Next Week: Tobacco, Innovation, Non-Violations, Public Health Review" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.