42. The representative of Australia said that a large amount of work had been generated on this issue in recent times, not only in the TRIPS Council but in other bodies, particularly in WIPO. She reiterated her delegation's view that there was no conflict between the TRIPS Agreement and the CBD and that the two agreements could be implemented in a mutually supportive manner. Her delegation had found the fact-based discussions over the past year particularly useful in understanding the issues and other Members' concerns.
43. As a country that was rich in biodiversity with a burgeoning biotechnology industry and large agricultural and environmental research sectors, she said that Australia had an interest in ensuring legal access to those resources and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of those resources. However, her delegation had difficulty understanding the relationship between the problems that Members had identified and the solutions that they had proposed. Her delegation shared the view expressed by the United States and Canada that there would be value in having the Council consider national experiences regarding access and benefit-sharing systems in order to identify the perceived problems or gaps within these systems and then to proceed to discuss how these problems could be addressed. She said that to design a solution before having a full understanding of the nature of the problem risked a solution that would not only fail to address any problems identified but could have unintended adverse consequences.
44. She agreed with the views of Brazil, India and others in document IP/C/W/459 that it was better for the patent system to prevent the issue of bad patents in the first place rather than imposing the burden of revocation proceedings on third parties. However, it remained unclear to her delegation from examples provided by the demandeurs how the disclosure requirement would in fact prevent the grant of bad patents. In fact, the existing system, combined with other developments and proposals, might provide a more effective way in preventing erroneous patents as it would provide information relevant to the core criteria of novelty and inventive step. For example, WIPO had recently improved the patent examination tools that examiners use. The International Patent Classification System included, as of 1 January 2006, a new category of classification to encompass subject-matter related to traditional medicine, which would assist patent examiners to conduct more targeted searches of patent documentation. Another WIPO-initiated measure was a change to the Patent Cooperation Treaty minimum documentation to include traditional knowledge and non-patent literature to be consulted by international search authorities when performing a PCT international search.
45. She said that Australia would be reluctant to make changes to its patent system and to the TRIPS Agreement, particularly if these were unlikely to overcome the problems they were intended to address and might, in fact, undermine the objectives such as benefit sharing that they were meant to facilitate and introduce uncertainty into the patent system, thus providing a disincentive for technological innovation.