TRIPS Council on 1999 review

by GRAIN | 10 Dec 1998
TITLE: Review of TRIPs Article 27.3(b): WTO Members discuss what and how to review AUTHOR: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development PUBLICATION: BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest, Vol 2, No 47 DATE: 7 December 1998 SOURCE: ICTSD, Geneva URL:
http://www.ictsd.com

and

TITLE: Annual Report (1998) of the Council for TRIPS AUTHOR: World Trade Organization Council for TRIPS PUBLICATION: WTO document IP/C/15 DATE: 4 December 1998 SOURCE: WTO, Geneva URL:
http://www.wto.org/wto/ddf/ep/public.html


BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest Vol. 2, Number 47 December 07, 1998

REVIEW OF TRIPS ARTICLE 27.3(B): WTO MEMBERS DISCUSS WHAT AND HOW TO REVIEW

The TRIPs Council held its last meeting of 1998, on December 1-2. Significant amongst issues on the TRIPs Council?s busy agenda was the discussion of the review of Article 27.3(b), due to take place in 1999. The Council also considered requests for observer status from 11 organisations, how to carry out the post-2000 review of developing countries? legislation implementing the TRIPs Agreement, implementation of Articles 70 (8) & (9) and electronic commerce. The 1998 Annual Report of the Council for TRIPS (IP/C/15) is available via the WTO?s web-site on-line documents at:
http://www.wto.org/wto/ddf/ep/public.html

The 1998 review of Article 27.3(b) will be significant. Last week's meeting was the first time that there was an exchange of views amongst WTO Members as to how the review should be carried out. It was provisionally agreed that the procedure set out in the TRIPS Council Annual Report [see below] would be followed, pending the agreement of India, which still needed to get the necessary go-ahead from its capital. According to the procedure provisionally agreed to, Members already under an obligation to apply Article 27.3(b) would be invited to provide information on how they have done so under their national law. Other Members would be invited to do so on a best endeavour basis. The WTO Secretariat would contact the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) to request relevant factual information. Although WTO officials say that the discussion on the 27.3(b) review process went well, there were strong disagreements, in an informal session last week, about the scope of the review. Most developed countries favoured reviewing implementation of 27.3(b), while most developing countries said that the review should cover the provision itself.

If India accepts the proposed schedule, the Secretariat will have prepared a paper in time for the next meeting of the TRIPS Council, on February 16-17 1999. Although the review of Article 27.3 (b) is due to be completed in 1999, if a new round of multilateral trade negotiations is mandated to begin after the Third Ministerial Meeting (scheduled in November-December 1999), a lot of the heat might be taken off the review itself, as the subject could become an issue in a future round of multilateral trade talks.

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excerpt from:

WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights IP/C/15 - 4 December 1998

ANNUAL REPORT (1998) OF THE COUNCIL FOR TRIPS

[...]

XII. REVIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 27.3(b)

28. At its meeting in December 1998, the Council had an initial exchange of views on how the review of the provisions of Article 27.3(b) of the Agreement, due four years after the entry into force of the WTO Agreement, i.e. in 1999, should be carried out. In the light of informal consultations on the matter, the Chair proposed that the Council initiate the review process in the following way. First, those Members that are already under an obligation to apply Article 27.3(b) would be invited to provide information on how the matters addressed in this provision were presently treated in their national law. Other Members would be invited to provide such information on a best endeavours basis. The target date for the provision of this information would be 1 February 1999. Second, while it would be left to each Member to provide information as it would see fit, having regard to the specific provisions of Article27.3(b), the Secretariat would be requested to provide an illustrative list of questions relevant in this regard in order to assist Members to prepare their contributions. Third, the Secretariat would be requested to contact the FAO, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and UPOV, to request factual information on their activities of relevance. It would be understood that this information-gathering would be without prejudice to the nature of the review provided for in Article27.3(b). Once this information would have been received, the Council would revert to the question of whether any further information might be requested from the Secretariat. This proposal of the Chairman was adopted by the Council, in the case of one delegation on an ad referendum basis.

Author: GRAIN
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