G8 Outcome Has IP Implications For Enforcement, Trade and Health19/07/2006 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for 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 and its Global Health Policy News are non-profit independent news services and depend on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.This week’s Group of Eight (G8) meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia highlighted piracy and counterfeiting as one area in which G8 is determined to step up its effort, but it also made commitments to improve access to medicines for infectious diseases and to fulfil the development objective of the current world trade talks.Separately, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already declared that intellectual property will become a major issue at next year’s G8 meeting to be held in Heiligendamm, Germany, according to sources.The 15-17 July G8 summit issued a statement on 16 July on “combating intellectual property rights piracy and counterfeiting.” In it the member states (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States, while Brazil, the European Union, India, China, Mexico and South Africa were also present, according to the World Trade Organization) reaffirmed their commitment to combat this issue in order to promote innovation as well as to promote health and safety for consumers.This it will do through improved cooperation among agencies working on IP enforcement, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the development of a G8 work plan on piracy and counterfeiting, and a website on the issue in each G8 country.The plan also involves “technical assistance pilot plans” for interested developing countries, provided by WIPO and the WTO, among others, according to the statement.The fight against infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, polio and human pandemic influenza was one of the major issues at the G8 summit, covered in a 12-page health outcome document.The G8 leaders said they are “determined to achieve tangible progress” in areas such as international cooperation in surveillance and monitoring of these diseases, intensified scientific research and facilitated access to prevention and treatment, the document said.The document does not mention many specifics in terms of improving access to medicines, but it says the G8 wants to encourage the abolition of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on medicines and devices to reduce costs and improve access. Many developing countries have raised concern about lack of access due to high prices and intellectual property rights.The proposals include supporting ongoing initiatives such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as new ones, such as Russia’s proposal to establish a World Health Organization (WHO) centre for collaboration on influenza for Eurasia and Central Asia, the statement said.Doha Development GoalsThe G8 also called for a “concerted effort” to conclude the Doha Development Agenda, which covers the current WTO talks started in Doha, Qatar in 2001. The deadline for setting modalities on agriculture and industrial tariffs was the end of July, but as no progress was made at the ministerial negotiations in Geneva on 29 June to 1 July, the deadline seemed to be slipping away.But the G8 group welcomed the decision to “ask the WTO Director General [Pascal Lamy] to consult members intensively” for another month, which means until mid-August.On 17 July after the G8 meeting, a group of countries key to the WTO talks and referred to as the “G6” countries, flew to Geneva and met with Lamy, according to sources. The group includes Australia (which did not come), Brazil, the European Union, India, Japan and the United States. They scheduled another G6 meeting this weekend (23 July) and another one next weekend, the source said.This suggests that the coming week could become interesting with ministers checking back with their capitals on possible agreements, an informed Geneva source said.The G6 (which with the 25-nation European Union covers 31 countries) represent the “main blockage” in the current talks, a source said, but all the other members would have to be included if they move in the negotiations.19 July TRIPS Special Session Gets Little BoostOn 19 July, a special session of the WTO council on the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) was scheduled to discuss a multilateral register for wines and spirits geographical indications (GIs), which are products deriving their names from a place (such as Champagne).The discussion falls under Article 23.4 of the TRIPS agreement and Paragraph 18 of the 2001 Doha Declaration. The European Union has elevated the importance of the GI issue so that it might be tied with core WTO sticking points such as agriculture.The 19 July gathering is an extraordinary meeting of the special session, two participating delegates told Intellectual Property Watch. One of them said that it was agreed to add this meeting to the agenda at the last meeting of the special session held in June (IPW, Geographical Indications, 13 June 2006).Going into today’s meeting, one official opposing the register said there would not be any new compromise paper from the chair, as had been requested earlier by the EU, because the positions had not changed since the last meeting.At issue is who should participate in the register and the legal nature of it, a delegate said. One delegate from a “New World” country, which argue that the register should be voluntary, said that the EU is “totally isolated on the register” and that it takes an extreme position. The EU wants a mandatory register to apply to all member states.As the delegates went into the meeting, they picked up the paper from 14 September 2005 prepared by the WTO secretariat, which is a matrix laying out the positions on the register (TN/IP/W/12).As to the question on whether the G8 “pep talk” regarding the Doha round could influence the 19 July discussions, one of the officials replied: “GIs were not discussed at the G8 and there has not yet been any kind of breakthrough on the core issues of agriculture and non-agriculture market access, so I don’t see much influence coming from that side.”Another proponent of GIs from a European country agreed, saying that, “I do not think the G8 has had any influence on it … Not yet anyway.”Intellectual property issues probably will not be discussed until the end of the round unless there will be a “cross deal,” meaning that India and Brazil manage to tie their proposals for a TRIPS amendment on the Convention on Biological Diversity to the overall talks, for example, or the EU pushes GIs in order to make agriculture commitments, the source said.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)Related"G8 Outcome Has IP Implications For Enforcement, Trade and Health" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.