WIPO CDIP: New Proposals Rekindle Conversation On IP And Development 23/04/2015 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 2 Comments Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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) IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe here. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate. Among the outstanding issues at the World Intellectual Property Organization is how WIPO committees report to the General Assembly on their implementation of the organisation’s Development Agenda Recommendations. At this week’s meeting on the issue, a new proposal submitted by Mexico attempts to breach differences. Separately, a project looking at intellectual property and tourism as an income source was adopted this week by the fifteenth session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP), taking place from 20-24 April. Several longstanding issues are on the agenda of the CDIP this week. One of them is the implementation of the Coordination Mechanisms and Monitoring, Assessing and Reporting Modalities of the 45 Recommendations in the 2007 WIPO Development Agenda. The coordination mechanism discussion includes the issue of which WIPO committees should report to the General Assembly on their implementation of the recommendations. The coordination mechanism discussion also contains a proposal that every committee should have a standing agenda item on reporting their implementation of the Development Agenda recommendations. An additional issue this week is the inclusion of a standing agenda item in the CDIP relating to IP and development. Developing countries say that all committees should report to the WIPO General Assembly, while developed countries maintain that the language of the General Assembly establishing the coordination mechanism refers to “relevant committees,” thus enabling each WIPO committee to decide if it is relevant. Currently the WIPO Program and Budget Committee (PBC) and the Committee on WIPO Standards (CWS) do not report to the General Assembly on their implementation of the Development Agenda recommendations. Proposal of Mexico On 22 April, Mexico tabled a proposal [pdf] intended to advance the discussion about the coordination mechanism. The proposal attempts to set out a potential systematisation of the compliance of committees with the coordination mechanism. The proposal suggests an agenda item entitled, “Contribution of the Committee to the implementation of Development Agenda recommendations incumbent upon it.” The proposal also says this agenda item “will be concise and its inclusion will not be open to discussion by the Member States.” The proposal relates mainly to the reporting of WIPO committees to the General Assembly. Group B developed countries said they have concerns with the proposal because it does not take into account two principles “which have to be respected in seeking solutions.” The delegate from Japan, speaking on behalf of Group B said the proposal should reflect the fact that “relevant WIPO bodies, not all WIPO bodies” should report to the General Assembly and the fact that each committee has to decide for itself. The delegate said all WIPO committees stand on equal footing and thus the CDIP cannot direct anything to another committees. Divergence on the inclusion of a standing agenda item in each WIPO committee on their implementation of the Development Agenda has blocked the work of some committees in the past, such as the fourth session of the CWS last year, which had to be adjourned short of an agreement on such an agenda item (IPW, WIPO, 20 May 2014). A number of developing countries said the Mexican proposal could serve as a basis for further discussion. Informal discussions were expected to take place on 23 April to try to advance discussions on the Mexican proposal. IP and Development The inclusion of a standing agenda item in the CDIP on IP and development has been sought by developing countries because they maintain that this would allow for substantive discussions on the subject. But this has been resisted for years by developed countries. On 21 April, some developed countries sought to know what could be included in such an agenda item. Developed countries have resisted the request because they say the whole purpose of the CDIP is to discuss IP and development so the request is superfluous. On 22 April, Algeria and Nigeria submitted a document [pdf] based on a previous proposal [pdf] of the Development Agenda Group listing the proposed topics for discussion under IP and development in the CDIP. Among the proposed topics: the document suggested the report on the discussions of the WIPO seminar series on the “Economics of Intellectual Property,” and the WIPO’s contribution to development-related United Nations work. Nigeria also proposed access to knowledge and IP and technology transfer as additional topics. The document was discussed this morning. Developed countries again said it is superfluous as delegations could ask for specific agenda items to be added to the CDIP at any time, without the need of a standing agenda item. The CDIP decided to take note of the document and ask that the General Assembly in October decide that the discussion continues at the next session of the CDIP in November. Revised Project on IP and Tourism Adopted The project on IP and tourism, which has been first proposed by Egypt in May 2014 was adopted on 22 April by the CDIP. According to the project document, tourism represents one of the main sources of income for many developing countries. The project seeks to analyse, support and promote awareness of the role of the IP system in tourism-related economic activity. This includes the promotion of national and/or local knowledge, traditions, and culture, according to the document. A large number of countries supported the project, such as members of the African Group, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and a number of Latin American countries. The project had been opposed during the two last sessions of the CDIP by some developed countries on the fact that it was meant to support development objectives but also to protect cultural heritage in Egypt and other developing countries. Those developed countries said the protection of such heritage should be dealt with in another WIPO committee, the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) (IPW, WIPO, 17 April 2015). This week the WIPO secretariat submitted a revised version [pdf] of the Egyptian proposed project, taking into consideration comments received by member states. In particular, the word “protecting” was replaced by the word “promoting” in the title of the project (Intellectual Property, Tourism And Culture: Supporting Development Objectives And Promoting Cultural Heritage In Egypt And Other Developing Countries). In the text of the project, the same replacement was made as to say “the promotion of national and/or regional knowledge, traditions and culture.” A version of the original project with track changes is available here [pdf]. The WIPO secretariat said the project is a pilot project and three additional pilot countries might be added to Egypt after a decision is made on the matter at the completion of the pilot project. A number of countries expressed interest in being considered candidates for the three additional pilots, such as Ecuador, Senegal, Oman, Panama, Rwanda, Nicaragua, Iran, and Morocco. Criteria for selection of the additional countries is laid out on page 5 of the project, according to the WIPO secretariat. 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