Mandelson Keeps TRIPS Issues Critical As Lamy Hints At Need To Move On 26/07/2008 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 The European Union on Saturday restated the necessity of including three intellectual property issues in any outcome of the World Trade Organization ministerial negotiations, even as the WTO director general signalled a need to prevent the IP issues from upsetting other achievements. “It would be politically very difficult for us if we were not to find a way forward on GIs,” EU External Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson volunteered to a 26 July press briefing. He also mentioned the importance of including a biodiversity amendment favoured by developing countries. GIs are geographical indications, products named for places and specific characteristics, such as Brie cheese. But Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who has been consulting with key members on behalf of WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, told all members in the morning that “positions on some key issues are diametrically opposed,” and that “it is important not to allow these difficulties to put in jeopardy the success of this meeting,” according to WTO Spokesperson Keith Rockwell. But Støre added that in light of progress in agriculture and industrial goods, he would look to delegations to “intensify their engagements and willingness to show flexibility and creativity on these issues,” Rockwell said. Støre’s contacts with key members are continuing today, he said. There are three IP issues being considered: the establishment of an international register of wines and spirits geographical indications – product names associated with places and characteristics (“GI register”); the possibility of extending higher level GI protection to products other than wines and spirits (“GI extension”); and a proposed amendment to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) that would bring it in line with obligations under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adding a requirement for disclosure of origin in patent applications (“CBD amendment”). The GI extension and TRIPS CBD amendment do not have clear mandates to be negotiated in this round. Mandelson said Europe continues to have concerns about progress on GIs in the mini-ministerial which began formally on 21 July. “There are concerns, for instance, on GIs, where I have to say to our negotiating partners who are expressing reluctance both to negotiate with us on GIs and with developing countries on the CBD amendment that we have legitimate asks on these subjects,’” he said. “I would appeal to them to understand. All of us have needs and musts in this negotiation, and GIs is amongst them for us.” He confirmed afterward that he is referring to both the GI register and GI extension. Mandelson put GIs on the same scale as bananas among EU concerns. “Both subjects separately need to be part of the deal,” under a single undertaking, he said. EU Signalling Compromise on GIs? Mandelson hinted that it might be acceptable to simply show progress on modalities for IP issues, even if the issues are not resolved. “We need to advance the course of GIs in the context of modalities, even if we are not able to complete all the work on GIs at this meeting,” he said. According to Rockwell, Støre has been exploring whether members “could find a way forward that would not prejudice member states on the most contentious points,” such as the relationship to the single undertaking of Doha negotiations, and “the legal form of any outcome,” he told a 26 July press briefing. Rockwell was reporting on Støre’s report to the morning informal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee, which is supervising the talks. Støre also said he would “give sufficient satisfaction to all members and enable work to move ahead positively,” according to Rockwell, and that discussions have been “constructive” but that he is “not yet in a position to put forward any specific proposals.” Støre’s consultations will continue, as they have done for the past several days (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 25 July 2008). 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 "Mandelson Keeps TRIPS Issues Critical As Lamy Hints At Need To Move On" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.