Proponents See WTO Session On GI Register Ready For Substantive Talks 26/05/2009 by Kaitlin Mara for Intellectual Property Watch 1 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)An informal special session at the World Trade Organization on a register for geographical indications – product names associated with a particular place and characteristics – was nudged toward “substantive” talks last week, according to some participants. This could indicate that the sessions are “entering into a new phase,” a proponent told Intellectual Property Watch. These “special sessions” meet as a part of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council in dedicated gatherings to discuss the unfinished, but mandated, creation of an international register for geographical indications on wines and spirits. Such products with names corresponding to specific geographic regions and characteristics, receive heightened protection under the global intellectual property rights system. This informal session met 20 May. The sessions had been caught up in a question-and-answer since December, with primarily the European Union – the key demandeur of a strong, legally-binding register – answering questions posed by proponents of a weaker, non-binding register, such as Argentina, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the United States (IPW, WTO, 5 December 2008). With questions to the EU largely fielded, proponents of the weaker register suggested that the next formal meeting should address questions on their alternative register proposal. Their proposal, called the “joint proposal,” was first submitted in 1999 and has not changed since 2004 [doc]. “It was already discussed at length,” a delegate present at the meeting told Intellectual Property Watch. Japan asked for the submission of a detailed legal text, the delegate added. Those supporting a stronger GI register said guidance on key parameters was needed from ministers before the submission of such a text would be possible, the delegate told Intellectual Property Watch. The group includes about 110 governments strategically aligned behind a document (W/52 [pdf]) that calls for ways forward on GIs (including extending the higher protections to other products beyond wines and spirits) as well as on a proposed biodiversity protection amendment to TRIPS. The “technical experts can’t do this,” the delegate said. “Without guidance at a higher level there will be no result.” But this guidance could wait for the next ministerial meeting. In the meantime, the special sessions chair – Amb. Trevor Clarke of Barbados – asked for members to focus on issues rather than proposals, according to a participant. This means that at the next formal special session on 10 June, members should focus on specific areas of the GI register. These include: rules over who participates, registration of new GIs, notification of newly registered GIs, and legal effects of registration and participation. Separately, the Organisation for an International Geographical Indications Network will hold its fourth General Assembly in Teruel, Spain, from 24 to 26 June. Producers and specialists will discuss the best options for producers to protect and promote geographical indications. 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 Kaitlin Mara may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Proponents See WTO Session On GI Register Ready For Substantive Talks" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.