WIPO Members Flirt With Agreement On WIPO Technical Assistance 15/04/2016 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 2 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)Technical assistance provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization and the United Nations agency’s technology transfer-related activities were discussed at length by WIPO member governments this week. At press time on the final day of a weeklong meeting, an updated proposal by Spain appeared to be bringing members nearer consensus on the way forward on WIPO technical assistance. The WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) is meeting from 11-15 April. CDIP meeting WIPO’s provision of technical assistance to developing countries has been the subject of discussions in the CDIP, in particular on how to improve it. Some developing countries have raised issues in the past regarding the orientation of WIPO technical assistance, and whether it was provided with sufficient consideration of the specific needs of developing and least developed countries. The revised document being discussed on the floor (an updated version of an earlier proposed proposal) is available here [pdf]. At press time, developed countries said they consider that this document closes the item of the external review of technical assistance, while developing countries said they take the view that this is only a first step and discussions should continue in future sessions of the CDIP. A 2011 review of WIPO technical assistance gave a list of recommendations to improve WIPO technical assistance, some of which have been implemented by the secretariat. Member states have been trying to find consensus on the way forward on the remaining recommendations. This morning, delegates in informal consultations appeared to have agreed to some activities to be carried out by WIPO in the context of technical assistance, according to a Spanish delegate who presented an updated version of a previous proposal, after informal consultations. This follows informal consultations this week, led by Spain, to try to find consensus language on a previous Spanish proposal [pdf] tabled in April 2015 to which, in November, some delegations brought suggestions [pdf], such as Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A new version of the Spanish proposal [pdf] was released yesterday, with only two square brackets around text which had not met approval yet. This morning, delegates found common language to resolve the issues. The original Spanish document suggested for example that WIPO prepare a compilation of best practices of WIPO technical assistance, identify measures to increase the efficiency of its technical assistance, and prepare a guideline for the selection of consultants for technical assistance. Since the 2011 External Review [pdf] of WIPO Technical Assistance in the Area of Cooperation for Development, discussions have been ongoing in the CDIP as to which of those recommendations could be implemented by the secretariat. A number of those recommendations were taken on board by WIPO, which produced a management response to those recommendations, then an update [pdf] at the last session of the CDIP in November. The updated management response includes: recommendations which are already reflected in WIPO activities, or ongoing reform programs; recommendations “which merit further consideration;” and recommendations “which raise concerns as to implementation.” The approved proposal now suggests in particular that WIPO should provide a regular forum for member states to share their experiences, tools and methodologies regarding technical assistance and capacity building, and that a one-day seminar should be organised on the margins of the CDIP in the spring of 2017. The document also asks that WIPO continue improving internal coordination and collaboration with United Nations agencies and programmes, and other relevant international organisations, as well as cooperation with national and regional IP offices on issues related to technical assistance, capacity building and development-oriented cooperation. Tech Transfer At the last session of the CDIP in November, the WIPO secretariat was requested to establish a mapping [pdf] of its activities related to technology transfer. The committee at that time was discussing the evaluation report [pdf] on the CDIP project [pdf] on intellectual property and technology transfer: common challenges – building solutions. This week Group B developed countries suggested that WIPO update its technology transfer webpage with information contained in the mapping document, and add links to WIPO Green and WIPO Re:Search. The European Union remarked on the multifaceted character of technology transfer. They also cited WIPO Green and WIPO Re:Search as good examples of technology transfer initiatives. The African Group said it was now time to map out concrete technology transfer activities and find a consensus on how to develop a workplan for WIPO to facilitate technology transfer to developing and least-developed countries (LDCs). Brazil shared a similar view but also remarked that the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) flexibilities were only mentioned once in the document. South Africa commended WIPO on the interventions provided on successful technology licensing, intellectual property marketing, and IP valuation, in the document. South Africa suggested, as the way forward after the project, that WIPO set up a programme with the objective of advancing the skill set of individuals within offices of technology transfer in institutions, small and medium sized enterprises, and innovators. According to its statement, South Africa suggested some key functions for the proposed programme, such as: the development of balanced intellectual property and associated IP protection strategies relevant for different technology and knowledge systems types; the facilitation of increased relations with relevant multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the World Health Organization; the development of effective IP management and monitoring, which would allow developing countries “to ensure no third party is abusing their IP rights;” and the use of flexibilities to access technologies relevant to the technological needs of their countries. CDIP Chair Amb. Luis Enrique Chávez Basagoitia of Peru noted that one of the concerns expressed by member states taking the floor was how to take the outcome of the project further. He suggested that delegations who so wish should send their justified proposals to the secretariat, so those proposals could be compiled and distributed for discussion at the next session of the CDIP in the fall. Outcome of Expert Forum Still Challenged The CDIP project on intellectual property and technology transfer: common challenges – building solutions included an Expert Forum on International Technology Transfer, which was held in February 2015 (IPW, WIPO, 5 March 2015). After the forum, a report [pdf] was released, including eight “Expert Thoughts.” Those expert thoughts were challenged by some developing countries as not taking into full account the other elements of the projects, which included five regional technology transfer consultation meetings, six analytic studies, a concept paper, and the expert forum. Brazil again remarked that the eight expert thoughts did not mention the TRIPS flexibilities, which in the country’s view should be part of any recommendation. The United States said that the experts attending the forum were coming from developed and developing countries and the expert thoughts they delivered were based on practical, day to day, hands-on technology transfer experiences. Faced with reluctance from Group B to summit written suggestions to the secretariat, the chair remarked that expert thoughts are the views of experts but WIPO being an intergovernmental organisation, member states are responsible for decision-making and for giving precise instructions to the secretariat. There is no need for any more studies or expert fora, he said, but rather to organise a discussion through which tangible measures can be agreed upon. He suggested that comments be submitted no later than mid-July so that the secretariat has time to compile and distribute them before the next session of the CDIP. Some developed countries remarked that the project was finished and had already been evaluated, so suggestions should remain in the realm of the project, not aimed at starting a broader discussion, which was agreed upon by the chair, who however remarked on the right of member states to express their views. The secretariat confirmed that the project outcome was meant to be based on all activities of the project, not only on the result of the expert forum. WIPO Activities Related to SDGs On the agenda of the CDIP this week was a mapping [pdf] of WIPO activities related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation. The mapping provided by the secretariat refers to Goal 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation), and Goal 17 (Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development). Some developing countries, such as those in the African Group, China, and Brazil, said many other SDGs and targets apply to WIPO’s work. For example, China cited among others Goal 15 (Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss) in relation to the protection of genetic resources. China also suggested that a standing agenda be added to the CDIP on SDGs. Brazil cited Goal 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture), Goal 15, and Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages). Brazil also supported the Chinese suggestion for a standing agenda item on SDGs, as did Iran and Cuba. The United States was in line with the secretariat and found that Goals 9 and 17 are more directly linked to the WIPO mandate than other goals. The chair suggested that member states submit their comments and proposals on which goals should be considered by WIPO, to be compiled and discussed at the next session of the CDIP. Image Credits: WIPO 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."WIPO Members Flirt With Agreement On WIPO Technical Assistance" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.