WTO Biodiversity Amendment Backed; EU Seeks ‘New Thinking’ On GIs 26/10/2007 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment 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)By William New A proposal to amend the World Trade Organization rules on intellectual property rights to require the disclosure of the origin of genetic resources in patent applications gained significant new support Wednesday when 50 least-developed countries signed on. The additional support for the proposed amendment came at the 23-24 October meeting of the WTO Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Also at the meeting, a discussion was held on enforcement of IP rights as Japan presented a paper on customs seizures of allegedly infringing material. According to a WTO official, Brazil said the Council’s mandate on enforcement should be limited to whether countries are complying with the enforcement provisions in the TRIPS Agreement. Separately, sources said that the European Union suggested that “new thinking” might be necessary on a mandate to develop a register of geographical indications, products whose names derive from places. Europe has suggested an involuntary register but some newer countries with fewer GIs have raised concerns. The EU has raised the issue of higher GI protection in the WTO agriculture negotiations as well. No details on GIs were available at press time. A European Commission spokesperson said they could not comment on GIs “at this stage.” Consultations on a separate issue of extending GI protection to other products, and on the relationship between the TRIPS agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity appear not to have advanced, according to sources. The 50 LDC countries who signed up to the biodiversity amendment proposal include some who previously signed on through the African Group, which announced its cosponsorship at the June TRIPS Council meeting (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 6 June 2007). The total number of WTO members now cosponsoring the amendment proposal would appear to be in the majority of the 151 WTO members, as there were 11 cosponsors before the 41-nation African Group signed on. But of the 50 countries in the LDC Group, 32 are in the WTO, 11 are in the accession process, and 7 have expressed interest in acceding, according to sources. Lesotho, on behalf of the LDC Group, expressed support for the amendment proposal on Tuesday, but the formal co-sponsorship did not come until Wednesday. Another issue at the meeting was developed countries’ compliance with the TRIPS Articles 66.2 and 67 requirements to provide incentives to their private sector to transfer technology to least-developed countries, and engage in technical cooperation and capacity building. Brazil, China and India criticised the reports of developed countries, especially those from the European Patent Office, as being overly complicated, inappropriate, and inaccurate, according to a WTO official. Other actions taken during the TRIPS Council meeting included a two-year extension to end of 2009 for members to ratify an amendment to TRIPS for public health (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 23 October 2007). Scheduled dates for the next TRIPS Council meetings in 2008 are: 26-27 February, 17-18 June, and 28-29 October. William New may be reached at email@example.com. 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 "WTO Biodiversity Amendment Backed; EU Seeks ‘New Thinking’ On GIs" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.