WIPO Committee Reaches Breakthrough Agreements On Development Agenda15/06/2007 by William New, 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 now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.By William New with Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen A World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) committee negotiating proposals this week for a stronger development focus at WIPO appeared to be on track to finishing work by meeting’s end Friday, though some hurdles remained. At press time, breakthrough agreements had been reached on contentious issues such as open collaborative projects, intellectual property protection, and development impact assessments.There have been six clusters of proposals, labelled A to F, under discussion in the 11-15 Provisional Committee on Proposals for a WIPO Development Agenda (PCDA). As of Friday afternoon, five were completed and only one, on future work, was left under intensive negotiation. The outcome of this meeting will be submitted as recommendations to the annual WIPO General Assembly in September.The final cluster, F, which addresses the next steps for the proposals and the future of the PCDA after this year, was generating significant debate and was expected to change, officials said. The meeting chair, Barbados Ambassador Trevor Clarke, on Thursday drafted very preliminary recommendations based on a brief discussion with members, he said. The draft contained six items, including that there is agreement on the proposals from this meeting and the previous PCDA meeting held in February (IPW, WIPO, 23 February).The draft chair’s paper also recommended the establishment of a WIPO Committee on Development for discussing IP and development issues and to oversee implementation of the agreed proposals. The draft also called for the PCDA mandate to be extended by one year in order to initiate the work of the Development Committee. The PCDA would hold two five-day meetings in 2008 and come up with a draft implementation plan, including for financing and human resources.The creation of such a committee would be understood to mean the end of an existing committee, the Permanent Committee on Cooperation for Development Related to Intellectual Property (PCIPD). The Group B developed countries have sought to put the development issues in that committee, while proponents of the Development Agenda have resisted out of fear that the issues would wither there. A early non-paper from the Friends of Development Group proposed to renew the mandate of the PCDA for two years.Open Collaborative Projects, But Not Open SourceCluster D, on “assessments, evaluation and impact studies,” was completed by Friday morning. It states:“1. To exchange experiences on open collaborative projects such as the Human Genome Project as well as on IP models.2. Upon request and as directed by Member States, WIPO may conduct studies on the protection of intellectual property, to identify the possible links and impacts between IP and development.3. To strengthen WIPO’s capacity to perform objective assessments of the impact of the organization’s activities on development.”The proposal on open collaborative projects had been moved from an earlier cluster, and originally stated, “To exchange experiences on open collaborative projects for the development of public goods such as the Human Genome Project and Open Source Software.” The reference to public goods and open source software were removed under opposition, apparently from Group B, and the broader and potentially more “balanced” reference to “IP models” was added, sources said.The proposal on studies on IP protection, also moved from an earlier cluster, originated as, “Study to evaluate the appropriate levels of protection of intellectual property, to identify the links between IP and development.”Another protection-related proposal was withdrawn by the Group B developed countries after staunch opposition, sources said. It stated, “Increasing understanding of the adverse effect of counterfeiting and piracy on economic development: Through the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE), conduct analyses of the relationship between high rates of counterfeiting and intellectual property piracy and technology transfer, foreign direct investment and economic growth.”The third agreed cluster D proposal, on impact assessments, appears to reflect the dropping of an earlier proposal that would have taken steps toward the creation of a WIPO Evaluation and Research Office to conduct “development impact assessments,” and a proposal encouraging the “continuous objective evaluation” of impact and costs of WIPO treaties, especially for developing countries.Also gone from cluster D was a proposal to help countries conduct baseline surveys for economic growth.Clusters C and E were finished late on Friday, according to sources. Cluster C is on “technology transfer, information and communication technology and access to knowledge.” As of early Friday only a few brackets (reflecting lack of agreement) were left in the cluster, mainly on a proposal relating to collaboration with other intergovernmental organisations on technologies to meet basic development needs of developing countries “aimed at protecting the environment, health, promoting education and improving food security.”The agreed four paragraphs in this cluster now read:“To include discussions on IP-related technology transfer issues within the mandate of an appropriate WIPO body,”“WIPO should cooperate with other intergovernmental organisations to provide to developing countries, including LDCs [least developed countries], upon request, advice on how to gain access to and make use of IP-related information on technology, particularly in areas of special interest to the requesting parties,”“To undertake initiatives agreed by member states which contribute to transfer of technology to developing countries, such as requesting WIPO to facilitate better access to publicly available patent information,” and“To have within WIPO opportunity for exchange of national and regional experiences and information on the links between IP rights and competition policies.”In cluster E, on “institutional matters including mandate and governance,” a proposal to establish a WIPO “Partnership Office” for evaluating technical assistance requests from members is no longer included. Members also acted to keep negotiating meetings primarily in Geneva. The agreed text in cluster E now reads:“To consider how to improve WIPO’s role in finding partners to fund and execute projects for IP-related assistance in a transparent and member-driven process and without prejudice to ongoing WIPO activities,”“In accordance with WIPO’s member-driven nature as a United Nations Specialised Agency, formal and informal meetings or consultations relating to norm-setting activities in WIPO; organised by the International Bureau, upon request of member states, should be held primarily in Geneva, in a manner open and transparent to all members. Where such meetings are to take place outside of Geneva, member states shall be informed through official channels, well in advance, and consulted on the draft agenda and program.”In recent years, there has been concern about informal regional meetings being held, with WIPO’s involvement, that advanced negotiations without the involvement of all members and outside of Geneva, where countries have focused their resources for negotiations.William New 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 Committee Reaches Breakthrough Agreements On Development Agenda" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.