WIPO Committee On Development Has To Settle Again For Meagre Results26/05/2014 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 3 CommentsShare 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.The World Intellectual Property Organization committee on development closed last week with little to show after a week of unyielding opposing positions on every sensitive issue by several countries. Frustration was palpable as those issues were sent to the next session for further discussions, with the risk of renewed disagreement. The agenda [pdf] of the 13th session of the Committee on Intellectual Property and Development (CDIP), held from 19-23 May, was a heavy one with several sensitive matters, among which was the convening of an international conference on IP and development. Also on the agenda were the terms of reference of an independent review of WIPO’s implementation of the 45 Recommendations of the 2007 Development Agenda.Further discussions on those two items were sent to the next session of the committee, as was a decision on the overall reporting of WIPO committees on how they include development in their activities.Some studies could not be considered due to lack of time and are expected to be added to the next agenda. The absence of consensus is mainly fuelled by some inflexible positions by some countries on each side, according to sources.The very functioning of the committee and the organisation were raised by some countries (IPW, WIPO, 24 May 2014).The summary by the chair [pdf], which was adopted with a number of textual changes, reflects the difficulties experienced during the week.All week, an informal drafting group chaired by former CDIP Vice-Chair Ekaterine Egutia, deputy head of Georgia’s National Intellectual Property Center (SAKPATENTI), tried to bridge the differences on the independent review. She gave daily updates and commented on progress.But in the end, though she claimed “amazing progress” was achieved during the week, she said “just one word” remained the focus of disagreement and the terms of reference could not be finalised (the one word was never revealed). An outstanding point referring to the practical experience of the team of experts remained in the way of consensus, she said warily.Opposed on this were Group B developed countries on one side, and the African Group and the Development Agenda Group on the other hand, she said. A developed country source told Intellectual Property Watch later that Group B was in favour of having at least one expert to be chosen working on the independent review requested to have practical experience on the ground, which was resisted by the other two groups.A conclusion [pdf] was reached on the issue, to be inserted in the chair’s summary, which states that the CDIP would hold one informal meeting before the next session of the committee to finalise the terms of reference, and the matter further discussed at the next session.International Conference Delayed Once MoreThe proposed international conference on IP and development did not meet a happier outcome. The conference has been agreed upon, as well as its technicalities, except for the list of speakers to be invited to talk. The secretariat composed a list, which was submitted to member states, but did not meet the agreement of developing countries. Uruguay on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC) tabled a proposed draft conclusion [pdf] by which countries could propose new names on the list but this did not meet consensus so was withdrawn.It was finally decided to continue discussions on the matter at the next session of the CDIP, as stated in a conclusion [pdf] reached in the plenary which will replace the one previously in the chair’s summary.Another prickly matter was a recommendation to be made by the CDIP to the General Assembly.The main issue relates to which WIPO committees the coordination mechanism of the Development Agenda should apply. All relevant WIPO committees should report to the General Assembly on how they are implementing the Development Agenda in their activities, according to a General Assembly decision. The word “relevant” has been diversely interpreted by member states. The Committee on WIPO Standards (CWS), and the Programme and Budget Committee do not report currently to the General Assembly.The Development Agenda Group, often supported by the African Group, has repeatedly asked that all committees of WIPO have a standing agenda item on the Development Agenda, including the CDIP. This was resisted by the Group B developed countries who claim that each committee should decide if it should report to the General Assembly.GRULAC remarked on the last day of the session that discussions in this context was merely the repetition of well-known positions and this attitude was leading to the “paralysis” of the CDIP and in the larger context to the organisation.It was decided that the CDIP would recommend the General Assembly that the CDIP is allowed to continue discussion over the next two sessions of the committee and report back to the General Assembly in 2015.New Projects Considered; IP & Tourism Pushed to Next SessionThe CDIP considered five evaluation reports on completed development projects, and agreed to extend the project on enhancing South-South cooperation on IP and development among developing countries and least-developing countries for one year.Two projects proposals were examined by the CDIP, one on phase II [pdf] of the project on capacity-building in the Use of Appropriate Technology Specific Technical and Scientific Information as a Solution for Identified Development Challenges, which was approved.The other proposed project [pdf], put forward by Egypt, relates to “Intellectual Property and Tourism: Supporting Development Objectives and Protecting Cultural Heritage in Egypt and Other Developing Countries.” According to the CDIP chair, support was expressed for the project but some countries asked for clarification and it was decided that the project will be discussed again at the next session.Egypt proposed to add language to the chair’s summary on an interim step in which countries could provide comments by 15 June to the secretariat so that the project could be edited for adoption at the next session. The United States opposed, saying the subject had not been discussed in plenary, and the item could not be reopen at that stage.Agenda of Next CDIPIn addition to standing issues that could not be agreed, several other items are expected to appear on the agenda of the next CDIP, for which a date is not set yet, but expected to be after the next WIPO General Assembly.The CDIP discussed the document on future work on patent-related flexibilities in the multilateral framework, and agreed that the WIPO secretariat prepare a document on new patent-related flexibilities for a future session, according to the chair’s summary. This will address flexibility in applying criminal sanctions in patent enforcement, and measures related to security which might result in a limitation of patent rights.An external review of WIPO technical assistance in the area of cooperation for development was also discussed with divergent views on further implementation, according to the chair’s summary, and the issue is expected to be discussed again in the next session.Three studies and a revised proposal on possible new WIPO activities related to using copyright to promote access to information and creative content could not be addressed by the CDIP due to lack of time.Several countries regularly express regret that not enough time and attention are generally devoted to studies and reports of projects at the CDIP. The length of the agenda is also often of concern. 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