IP And Innovation, Non-Violation Complaints On TRIPS Council Menu26/02/2016 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare 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.The now-familiar item of intellectual property and innovation is on the agenda for next week’s regular meeting of the intellectual property committee of the World Trade Organization. This time under the item, a range of developed countries have proposed to discuss education and diffusion, and Switzerland has put forward a paper on nurturing a culture of innovation. WTO members are also expected to further consider non-violation complaints – the possibility of indefinitely extending a moratorium shielding intellectual property from disputes between members which arise in cases when a member considers that another member’s actions have led to loss of expected benefits, even without breaching a WTO agreement.The next Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) meeting is taking place from 1-2 March.The new chairperson for the TRIPS Council will be Ambassador Modest Jonathan Mero of Tanzania, according to the WTO.Non-Violation ComplaintsThere is currently a moratorium which prevents non-violation complaints under the WTO TRIPS agreement. The moratorium has been regularly extended every two years. The 2013 WTO Ministerial conference instructed the TRIPS Council to reach a consensus on whether or not the moratorium could be indefinitely prolonged.Most WTO members favour an indefinite extension, but the United States and Switzerland, and possibly others, would like the moratorium to be lifted. Discussions in 2014 and 2015 did not resolve differences, and in November no consensus was reached before the 2015 WTO ministerial conference (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 19 November 2015).The following decision was taken at the 2015 ministerial conference: “We take note of the work done by the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights pursuant to our Decision of 7 December 2013 on ‘TRIPS Non-Violation and Situation Complaints’ (WT/L/906), and direct it to continue its examination of the scope and modalities for complaints of the types provided for under subparagraphs 1(b) and 1(c) of Article XXIII of GATT 1994 and make recommendations to our next Session, which we have decided to hold in 2017. It is agreed that, in the meantime, Members will not initiate such complaints under the TRIPS Agreement.”Next week, WTO members are thus expected to resume discussions, while the moratorium is extended to 2017.IP and Innovation – Education and DiffusionFor some years, WTO members, mostly developed countries, have introduced discussion items on IP and innovation in the TRIPS Council. This time Australia, European Union, Switzerland, and the United States have proposed a discussion on education and diffusion.Japan, Peru, Russia, and Singapore have co-sponsored the item, and Switzerland submitted a paper [pdf] to introduce the Swiss situation and experience. According to the paper, Switzerland has given particular attention to the nurturing of an innovation culture. This focus has “resulted in a comprehensive integration of the innovation concept within the business culture of the Swiss economy and its educational system.”“Providing education and training on IP rights, on their philosophy and operation is key to putting an IP system to maximum use for the promotion of innovation and creativity,” the paper says. Switzerland believes that IP education should be tailored to age groups, for example with a focus on copyright issues in primary schools.At secondary school level, “there are special optional programs which allow students a very practical hands-on approach to the topic of intellectual property and innovation,” the paper says.The items on IP and innovations have been presented as an opportunity for members to stimulate discussions on the way in which IP protection can foster innovation and promote economic development in the process, according to the paper.Protection of Traditional Knowledge, FolkloreThe relationship between the TRIPS and the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the protection of traditional knowledge and folklore has been on the agenda of the Council for years. According to a WTO source, WTO members are expected to consider two suggestions that have been supported by some members for some time.The first suggestion is that the WTO secretariat update factual notes that summarise the points made by delegations in past discussions. The second is that the CBD secretariat be invited to brief the TRIPS Council on the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, which entered into force in 2015. 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