WIPO Committees Casting About For Future Work05/11/2007 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 The World Intellectual Property Organization enforcement committee last week heard from a series of intellectual property rights enforcers and others before attempting unsuccessfully to agree on the future work and moving to consultations till February. Meanwhile, separate consultations are continuing for a mandate for the WIPO copyright committee whose meeting has been postponed to next year.Member states at the 1-2 November meeting of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement raised possible issues for the committee in the coming year, such as online counterfeiting and piracy, the new WIPO Development Agenda, biopiracy, the social impact and cost of enforcement, limitations and exceptions to enforcement, and traditional knowledge. But in the end it was only agreed that regional groups would consult among themselves and submit proposals by the end of February 2008, participants said.A WIPO official called it a very good meeting for an exchange of views.The recently concluded General Assemblies set the mandate for the advisory committee, which the assemblies said, “excludes norm-setting,” as it is “limited to technical assistance and coordination.”The mandate continued, “The committee should focus on the following objectives: coordinating with certain organisations and the private sector to combat counterfeiting and piracy activities; public education; assistance; coordination to undertake national and regional training programs for all relevant stakeholders and exchange of information on enforcement issues through the establishment of an electronic forum.”Brazil stressed during the committee meeting that the advisory committee remain strictly a venue for an exchange of views, and that it consider the social and economic impacts of enforcement, participants said. With the assemblies’ passage of the Development Agenda, all relevant WIPO activities are likely to be reviewed with a development lens, and Brazil said the enforcement committee should take these concerns into account. A further point of concern is that countries have the right to decide how to implement obligations under international trade rules on enforcement, and that the room for national-level interpretation should not be narrowed.A discussion arose during the meeting over whether member states should have greater control over the topics discussed by the advisory committee, and the panels of speakers who present on the topics. To date, the secretariat has played a strong role in both, but some leading developing countries are concerned that the topics and speakers too strongly reflect the perspective of large rights-holding nations.“The approach should be less coercive and more constructive,” a developing country official said. Another suggestion was that the private sector fund more enforcement efforts in developing countries.The United States did not have a strong contingent at the meeting, which came as a surprise to some since the US is typically a leader on the issue. European countries, meanwhile, had a significant presence and have been taking a prominent role on enforcement in Geneva institutions.Some have begun to question whether the coming negotiation for an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) (IPW, Enforcement, 24 October 2007), recently announced by key developed countries, may move some attention away from venues such as WIPO. A suggestion also has arisen whether some European Union countries might see an internal conflict in a negotiation on criminal enforcement at the EU level when that area of competency still resides at the national level among EU member states. But this has not been confirmed.WIPO meetings are closed to the media. Speakers during the committee meeting included judges, public health, law enforcement, and the copyright industry, several from developing countries. Justice Louis Harms, a South Africa appeals court judge, gave a comprehensive overview of questions related to coordination on enforcement. Others came from the World Health Organization, Interpol, Ecuador, US Justice Department, India’s film industry, European Commission, Barbados, the Supreme Courts of Jordan and Russia, and the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group in London.Broadcasting Treaty Still on AgendaSeparately, the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), put off its scheduled November meeting to allow more time for consultation on what the committee should focus on, according to a key official. It is unclear when the meeting will be held, but it is expected in the first part of 2008. Among the possible issues for the committee are: limitations and exceptions, a mention of an audiovisual treaty, and, the official said, reconsideration (to see how members wish to proceed) of the treaty on broadcasters’ rights that collapsed last summer (IPW, Broadcasting, 22 June 2007).No officials asked tied the delays in the policy committees to the current political standoff in WIPO over the fate of the director general.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 Committees Casting About For Future Work" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.