Several WIPO Committee Reports Stamped by General Assembly; Dissent Persists 28/09/2014 by Catherine Saez and William New, Intellectual Property Watch 3 Comments 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)Every year at this time, various World Intellectual Property Organization committees give a report to the organisation’s General Assembly on their past year’s activities and recommendations for decisions to be taken, including work they will be undertaking during the next year. At this week’s Assembly, reports were noted from committees on patents, trademarks, WIPO standards, and enforcement. The WIPO General Assembly is taking place from 22-30 September. The Reports on Other Committees document, WO/GA/46/7 Rev is available here. Committee on Patent Law (SCP) On the work of the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), a number of developed countries taking the floor mentioned the importance of international patent harmonisation and work-sharing such as the Patent Prosecution Highway. Developing countries mostly stressed the importance of limitations and exceptions in the patent system, in particular the use of those limitations and exceptions by developing countries. The United States said it does not support continuing work in the PCT “heavily tilted towards the erosion of patent rights”. The delegate said the US is “very concerned by the continuing lack of balance in the SCP work programme” and “attempts by some member states to focus excessively on the subject of limitations and exceptions to patents at the expense of substantive patent law.” Flexibilities, the US delegate said, are not the exclusive solution to public health problems facing developing countries and least-developed countries. A number of developing countries, such as India, Cuba, South Africa and Iran underlined the importance of flexibilities, and technology transfer. Brazil said limitations and exceptions are essential elements of a balanced IP system. Knowledge Ecology International, in its statement, said the work of the SCP should help countries find a way to achieve the goal of the 2001 WTO Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health. They also suggested that the SCP undertake a review or ask for a study of the provisions in national patent laws that would enable the full de-linkage of drug prices and research and development costs. The Third World Network said harmonisation of patent law “goes against the spirit of WIPO Development Agenda,” and called upon member states to work on patent flexibilities. Committee on Trademarks (SCT) The General Assembly went over the report of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT), except on the issue of the proposed industrial design treaty, which is still under discussion in informal consultations. On the work programme of the next sessions of the SCT will be a revised proposal on the protection of country names, which was initially proposed by Jamaica. The next session of the SCT will consider two other proposals, one from the United States asking that a current survey of existing national geographical indication regimes be undertaken. The other is a joint proposal by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Moldova and Switzerland, concerning the protection of geographical indications and country names in the domain name system, presented at the last session of the SCT. No agreement was reached then on how to work further on those proposals. South Africa said that GIs should be discussed at the SCT as it was the only WIPO body with a mandate to discuss GIs. Brazil also said it is important to keep in mind that the SCT is the forum to discuss GIs. A number of countries have challenged the proposed revision of the Lisbon agreement on appellations of originto include the protection of GIs. Committee on WIPO Standards (CWS) The fourth session on the Committee on WIPO Standards (CWS) could not agree on the agenda, notably on the addition of an agenda item on the CWS contribution to the implementation of the respective Development Agenda Recommendations, and the session was adjourned. Member states at the fourth session in May conducted informal consultations on the proposed draft agenda items for the committee. The conclusions of these discussions should be officially confirmed when the plenary of the CWS is reconvened, according to the General Assembly document [pdf]. The Group B developed countries said the situation of the CWS was an issue and that the objectives of the committee should not be held hostage to achieve other purposes not linked to the mandate of the committee. They did not give specifics. Several developing countries maintained that the CWS should be part of the coordination mechanism of the WIPO Development Agenda. South Africa, for example, said CWS clearly contributes to cluster A of the Development Agenda recommendations (technical assistance). This was opposed by the United States who said the CWS should not fall into the category of committees who report to the coordination mechanism. The CWS is primarily concerned with WIPO standards, their revision and development, according to WIPO. WIPO standards include “recommendations on various aspects of patents, trademarks, and industrial designs.” For example, the last CWS agenda included items for discussion such as the preparation of recommendations for the electronic management of sound marks and motion or multimedia marks for adoption as WIPO standards. Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) Not a negotiating body, the committee nevertheless has seen its share of debates in the past. The Assembly took note of the report on the one three-day ACE meeting held in March. The report described presentations on alternative dispute resolution, WIPO-led “respect for IP” enforcement programmes at national level, national new business models, supply chain security, and programmes of preventive measures on the internet. Based on the report before the Assembly, all of the programmes under every topic of the ACE were focused on anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting campaigns. In the Assembly plenary discussion this week, several countries touted the usefulness of the committee, but a developed country view was that the work of the ACE has been negatively affected by “outside influence”. But some developing countries said that while there are problems with IP enforcement, and counterfeit products in their supply lines, the ACE should base its work on the Development Agenda and provide a balanced approach. “This harmony which was supposed to arrive has not yet come about,” said a delegate from Congo, citing WIPO Development Agenda Recommendation 45 calling for balance in IP between enforcement and societal interests. It should be about rights for all and development for all, he said. A delegate from Sudan said more help is needed for developing countries to get the benefits of IP rights. The non-governmental Third World Network said that “often the [WIPO] secretariat goes overboard and endorses a maximalist approach.” Outoing Deputy Director General Christian Wichard told the Assembly, “I can assure you the Development Agenda, in particular Recommendation 45, guides the work we do” in his division of the secretariat. Wichard highlighted a reference by a member state that the ACE is basically “a means for crowdsourcing ideas for building respect for IP.” Image Credits: WIPO Flickr 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 Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.William New may be reached at email@example.com."Several WIPO Committee Reports Stamped by General Assembly; Dissent Persists" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.