Busy Year At WTO: 20th Anniversary, Doha Round, Dispute Settlement Overload

WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo

This year is an auspicious moment for the World Trade Organization and the multilateral trading system, WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo told journalists today. In particular, he said, the WTO, after a hiatus last year, is implementing the results of the 2013 Bali agreement on trade facilitation and finalising work on the work programme to conclude the Doha Round of trade liberalisation negotiations.

Indian Draft Pesticides Bill Contains TRIPS-Plus Data Exclusivity, Indian Pharma Says

Medicines - Flickr - Hitthatswich

India is considering legislation on pesticides containing data exclusivity provisions that would raise the level of intellectual property protection above the minimum required by international trade agreements and could act as a precursor for pharmaceutical products in the country, a leading Indian industry representative warned this week. India is sensitive to restrictions on the use of marketing data of patented pharmaceuticals as it is seen as the world leader in generic medicines, which use such data.

Cuba, Large Friends, Trying To Corner US Into Compliance With WTO Rum Trademark Ruling

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Better relations may be on the way for Cuba and the United States, but the thaw has yet to be seen in a longstanding World Trade Organization dispute over a Cuban rum trademark. As it has done for years, the United States today casually reported that there are several pieces of legislation in the US Congress that might bring it into compliance with a longstanding WTO ruling that found it in violation of WTO rules for a 1998 measure blocking a Cuban trademark from receiving due legal process in the US, where a US-friendly firm is using it.

IP-Watch Geneva IP Delegates List Updated

United Nations headquaters in Geneva

Intellectual Property Watch offers a partial list of the government delegates in Geneva with responsibility for intellectual property issues at the United Nations and World Trade Organization. The newly updated list is now available, exclusively for subscribers. [Note: IP-Watch content is free to most developing countries, just register online here]

Gathering Looks At Governance Of WIPO, IP Governance In Multilateral Fora

ICTSD event image Mar 2015

On 5 March, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) in collaboration with Oxford University’s Global Economic Governance Programme (GEG) hosted an event in Geneva to discuss challenges and issues in intellectual property governance.

Trade Outlook In 2015: The Race Of The Mega-Regionals

RCEP negotiators - or will it be them?

For international trade, 2015 will be “a year of work” rather than of finalisation, as Viviane Reding put it. The comment of the former European Commission vice president and Justice Commissioner focussed on the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), as she is now the European Parliament’s rapporteur for TISA. The services agreement is still sailing under the radar compared to its bigger cousins, the US-EU bilateral Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Yet “a year of work” might well describe the 2015 agenda for the mega-regional trade negotiations too. Will any of them get to the finish line? A race is on in which the United States and European Union seem to anxiously look to China’s advance while fighting rising opposition at home.

Tobacco Plain Packaging Discussion Lights Up Again At WTO

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The issue of plain packaging for tobacco products as a health measure has been smouldering at the World Trade Organization since Australia decided to implement legislation requiring plain packaging in 2012. Now, as more countries seek to enact similar legal provisions, some tobacco producing countries continue to try to stub them out, including at the WTO intellectual property committee.

WTO Least-Developed Countries Request Waiver Of IP Rights On Pharma Products

Medicines in LDC

This week at the World Trade Organization intellectual property committee meeting, least-developed countries submitted a request to extend a waiver allowing them not to enforce intellectual property rights on pharmaceutical products. The countries have extended the waiver before, but this time they are seeking to make it indefinite, until they are no longer considered LDCs.

US Again Target Of Complaints Of Persistent Non-Compliance At WTO DSB

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Discussions at the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body meeting yesterday again included the long-running dispute on a rum brand with Cuba accusing the United States of persistent non-compliance, and other WTO members – such as China and the European Union – urging the US to finally repeal its bill. The US measure was ruled inconsistent with the WTO intellectual property rules 13 years ago, and critics warn that the US recalcitrance is harming the dispute settlement system.

Status Of WTO Wines And Spirits Register Discussed

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World Trade Organization delegates were convened this week to discuss an international register for wines and spirits in the context of the organisation’s agreement on intellectual property. The discussion, dating back nearly 20 years, has long involved different views on the register, which were reaffirmed this week, according to sources in Geneva.