TRIPS Council To Consider The Two Sides Of IP – Innovation Booster And Barrier 21/02/2017 by Catherine Saez, 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)The role of intellectual property in innovation is expected to be considered through different lenses at the upcoming meeting of the World Trade Organization committee on intellectual property. A group of developed countries have proposed an agenda item on inclusive innovation in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, while discussions are expected on the report of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, and a side event featuring High-Level Panel members has been convened by a group of developing countries. Electronic commerce, and in particular copyright issues and electronic signatures are also on the agenda next week. The WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is meeting from 1-2 March. As has been the case over the last few years, some countries have proposed an agenda item on intellectual property and innovation, with two documents. Next week, the subject has been submitted by Australia, the European Union, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States. According to the meeting document [pdf], micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) include entrepreneurs, start-ups, businesses, researchers and investors, which “often form collaborative partnerships to harness greater opportunities and share business solutions.” Further, the document says, MSMEs “rely on intellectual property frameworks that are able to protect expressions of new ideas, inventions, provide economic benefits and promote follow-on innovation,” and thus need transparent and predictable IP rules. The co-sponsors of the document invite members at the TRIPS Council to share national experiences and examples of inclusive innovation and MSME collaboration, in particular how IP frameworks and innovation policy have assisted them to successfully build and maintain collaborations. The discussion proposed by the co-authors is the first sequence of a three-fold discussion as detailed in another meeting document [pdf] by the same group of countries (Australia, the EU, Japan, the US, and Switzerland). According to that document, “The TRIPS Council is positioned at the cross-roads of inclusive innovation where trade and IPR protection converge, and is well-placed to serve as a laboratory of ideas regarding this significant topic.” The co-authors propose to focus on IP and inclusive innovation: MSME growth in June, and IP and inclusive innovation: MSME trade in October or November 2017. The TRIPS Council holds three sessions a year. High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines According to the TRIPS Council provisional agenda, the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel report on access to medicines is listed as an “ad hoc” agenda item. At the last TRIPS Council in November, Brazil, China, India and South Africa requested an agenda item on the report (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 31 October 2016). It was decided, according to the provisional agenda, that this item would be put again on the agenda in March. The report of the High-Level Panel found that the current innovation model relying solely on the rewards granted by intellectual property rights is not working properly and not conducive to promoting access to medicines at affordable prices. According to source, on 1 March a side event is expected to be organised by Bangladesh, Brazil, India and South Africa, the secretariat of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, and the intergovernmental South Centre. According to the event invitation, the side event “will provide an opportunity for WTO members, observers and all interested stakeholders to engage in an open discussion with some Members of the High-Level Panel and its Expert Advisory Group.” “The High-Level Panel has made numerous recommendations for action to WTO members and observers, the WTO Secretariat and other international organizations, the private sector, patient groups and civil society that could help boost innovation and access to health technologies within the framework of the multilateral trading system,” it said. Electronic Commerce An old topic at WTO but a newcomer in the TRIPS Council, the discussion on electronic commerce and intellectual property is expected to continue next week with two documents. One of them, introduced by Brazil, focuses on copyright rules and the digital environment. In particular, the document [pdf] lays out three areas of possible convergence for WTO on the implementation of copyright rules and the digital environment. It states: “The development of national copyright systems in the digital environment would greatly benefit from a basis of shared understandings among member states on (a) transparency; (b) balance of rights and obligations; and (c) territoriality of copyright.” Separately, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay tabled a document [pdf] on electronic commerce and electronic signatures. “Electronic signature (e-signature) encompasses a broad range of digital solutions aiming to ensure the authenticity, integrity and privacy of online domestic and cross-border transactions and communications,” the document says. Deeming that e-signature “is a fundamental issue in any future consideration regarding electronic commerce in the WTO,” the co-authors present a MERCOSUR resolution on e-signature in the document as a basis for discussion. Other Topics Also on the TRIPS Council agenda are items which have been routinely discussed for many years without progress, such as the relationship between the TRIPS and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the protection of traditional knowledge and folklore, and the review of the application of the provisions of the section on geographical indications. At the last session of the council, in November, India proposed that the CBD attend a future TRIPS Council to give a presentation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the CBD. India suggested a informal discussion. This proposal has been regularly suggested by developing countries, and resisted by some developed countries (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 10 November 2016). The Indian proposal on the CBD presentation was supported by South Africa, Ecuador, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Brazil, China, Colombia, Peru, Indonesia, Norway, and Guatemala, according to a WTO source. Canada and Australia said they are open to a presentation but not to amending the TRIPS agreement, the source said. 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 email@example.com."TRIPS Council To Consider The Two Sides Of IP – Innovation Booster And Barrier" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.