WIPO Development Agenda Meeting Gets Head-Start16/02/2007 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch 1 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 now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.By Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen A United Nations meeting next week on proposals to improve developing countries’ benefit from intellectual property rights got a head start when participants from nearly two dozen countries met informally in India and agreed on some priorities, according to government sources. Meanwhile, member governments are preparing to discuss papers drafted for the meeting by the General Assembly chair.On 5-7 February, the participants discussed the 111 proposals that have been submitted to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on a development agenda, which was initiated by a group of developing countries in 2004.These countries, led by Argentina and Brazil, have argued for substantive reform of WIPO to better reflect the various stages of development of its member countries and their respective proprietorship-public domain balances, instead of allegedly making and implementing intellectual property regulation in a “one-size-fits-all” manner. Since 1974, WIPO has been a specialised agency of the UN.On 19-23 February, the third session of the Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda (PCDA) will be held, the first of two “special sessions” to be held in 2007 (IPW, WIPO, 30 September 2006).The informal preparatory meeting was hosted by India as a follow-up to an earlier proposal it made at WIPO, a source said. A participant at the meeting told Intellectual Property Watch that this was not a WIPO meeting per se, but WIPO had supported it. Three WIPO officials attended, sources said, and briefed participants on the development agenda.The participant said that a document had been produced but there was “no official outcome” and it would have no status in the overall development agenda talks. The meeting had attempted to streamline and compress proposals. The official said it had been a “good exercise in learning” about everyone’s positions. The non-paper is entitled, “Development agenda proposals, Annex A.”This view was echoed by another developing country official, who confirmed that it was an informal meeting with an informal discussion, and a non-paper document had been produced. The proposals in the document do not reflect the official positions of the member states, the official said, as they had all participated in their personal capacities. The official did not expect the paper to be tabled at the PCDA. India did not comment for this story.Possible Consensus on Norm-settingAmong the more than 20 agreed proposals are the strengthening of WIPO’s technical cooperation programme and establishment of a voluntary fund to increase technical assistance in least-developed countries, particularly in Africa, the source said.As for norm-setting, the participants agreed of inclusion of more civil society and public interest participation at WIPO and taking member states’ different levels of development into account, the participant said. One proposal also suggests consideration of the protection of the public domain in WIPO’s normative processes. Also, it was generally agreed the secretariat should not interfere in member states’ normative processes at WIPO. The need for new ways the benefiting of flexibilities in international agreements was also agreed, and the need for WIPO and other organisations to help Africa reverse “brain drain.”Participants in India also agreed that WIPO should step up its collaboration with other UN agencies, the sources said. Participating countries included: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.Chair’s PCDA Texts and Government ViewsThe special sessions of the PCDA were decided by the WIPO General Assembly on 25 September – 3 October 2006. At this meeting, the chair, Ambassador Enrique Manalo of the Philippines, was entrusted to narrow down the 111 proposals to avoid repetition, divide them into “actionable” versus “declarations of general principles and objectives,” and to find out which proposals related to current work at WIPO, Manalo said. The WIPO secretariat helped out on the third task, a source said.Manalo told Intellectual Property Watch that based on the document endorsed by members and the implicit understanding that 40 (Annex A) of the proposals are more ripe than the remaining ones (Annex B), he had indicated which belonged to the respective three categories described above.He said this is “purely my own interpretation” and “it is up to them” – the PCDA members – to decide how to move forward, but he hoped this would facilitate the discussions and maybe function as a roadmap. At worst, it could remain as a reference paper, he said, adding that the paper had no relation to the India meeting non-paper.Manalo said what is needed now is “for actual negotiations to begin,” adding that although proposals had been tabled, there had been more process discussions and “not really in depth” talks. He said now is the time to find out whether members can agree, and he hoped the document could help them to “get on that road of negotiating.”Ambassador Trevor Clarke of Barbados, who just stepped down as chair of the World Trade Organization Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, is expected to chair next week’s meeting, sources said.It remains to be seen whether the chair’s document will be rejected out of hand, adopted as a working document or merely used as a reference document, which some delegates have indicated they prefer, a developing country source said. The issue of actionable points being listed under principle points may be particularly controversial as there had been a number of amendments on this after the chair consulted with regional groups on the first draft since November 2006, the source said.Argentinian Ambassador Alberto Dumont told Intellectual Property Watch that the chair’s document should be a useful working paper as he had consulted member states in preparing it. He did not think the issue of proposals being actionable or not would be an issue as “if there is political will, everything is actionable,” he said.But, the ambassador said, the third column of the chair’s matrix, on WIPO’s activities, was more subjective as it lists the facts on what WIPO is doing in the different areas, but leaves the question whether this fulfilled what the “demandeurs” of the various proposals had had in mind. He said the question was not if WIPO does it but “how they are doing it,” adding that this was about WIPO as an institution, not only the secretariat.The coordinator of the African Group at WIPO told Intellectual Property Watch that the group expects some concrete results at next week’s meeting. It welcomed the work done by the chair and said the idea seemed to be more mature now than before.A European Union official was positive about the upcoming meeting. “The EC believes that WIPO’s Development Agenda should now move forward with a view to achieving concrete results,” the official said. “The EC is committed to work next week in a constructive spirit and engage in an open-minded and fruitful debate in order to achieve results on the first set of 40 proposals, as agreed at last General Assembly. We appreciate the preparatory work undertaken by the chair in this respect.”The chair’s documents from 26 January are linked here: Chair’s Cover Letter; Chair’s PCDA Part I; Chair’s PCDA Part II; Chair’s PCDA Part III.Separately, the South Centre has published the final version of a research paper entitled, “A development analysis of the proposed WIPO treaty on the protection of broadcasting in cable-casting organisations,” available at: http://www.southcentre.org/publications/researchpapers/researchpapers9.pdf . Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen may be reached at email@example.com.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"WIPO Development Agenda Meeting Gets Head-Start" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.