Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

Ambassador Yonov Agah (Nigeria)
United States of America
82. The representative of the United States said that his delegation appreciated the communications by Sierra Leone and Uganda outlining several key issues and proposals related to the development of sound and viable technological bases in their countries. He agreed that for LDC Members eager to implement their TRIPS obligations, technical and financial assistance could be critical and that, as reflected in those communications, intellectual property rights played a strong role in development, and were an integral part of the policies and practices that promoted the growth of science, technology, culture and innovation. He commended the efforts of these two countries to define their IPR-related technical and financial assistance needs that they believed were necessary for them to work toward full implementation of the TRIPS Agreement at the appropriate time. 83. He said that the United States was committed to continually enhancing its activities relevant to both Articles 66.2 and 67 of the TRIPS Agreement, and that the communications from Sierra Leone and Uganda would contribute to the improvement of such efforts. IPR-related technical assistance and training, trade capacity-building, development assistance and infrastructure development were all integral elements of the assistance efforts of the US Government. The goals of these efforts included helping developing countries create the conditions essential to develop a sound technological base; assisting countries in improving their administration, management and protection of IP, and encouraging the effective transfer of technology to developing countries. 84. He said that, in its communication, Sierra Leone had indicated that it was planning to make a future submission to the TRIPS Council regarding its specific needs for technology transfer. Uganda had mentioned in its communication that it planned to work with other LDCs to make further contributions to the Council in this respect. He said that his delegation looked forward to reviewing these submissions and to engaging in further dialogue on these issues, both in the TRIPS Council and bilaterally. 85. With respect to the specific proposals contained in the needs assessment documents of Uganda and Sierra Leone, he welcomed the detailed proposals and supported some of the ideas contained in them. He looked forward to a continued engagement on these matters in the consultations that were envisioned in connection with the Council's next meeting. In the meantime, he offered some initial reactions. His delegation supported the notion that further technical assistance programmes, whether bilaterally or through international organizations, should include regional frameworks and organizations such as ARIPO. Regional IP offices, like ARIPO, were the way of the future for global cooperation in reducing resource burdens on patent offices and improving the quality of the examination process. In fact, at the US Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA), there was a pending training proposal to provide an IP administration programme for officials from both ARIPO and OAPI. He looked forward to developing more programmes for regional offices. Additionally, strengthening individual IP offices was also an important tool in providing a strong and functioning IP regime. The United States, for example, had developed several programmes under GIPA on patent and trademark administration. These programmes looked at how to run and set up IP offices, with discussions on resource and computerization issues. He stressed the continued interest of his delegation in having more LDCs participate in these programmes. 86. He said that the enforcement priorities outlined in both proposals were welcomed and shared by the United States. He supported the idea that effective programmes should include: information exchange regarding border enforcement, particularly with neighbouring countries; training right holder organizations, enforcement agencies and attorneys and prosecutors; and developing consumer education programmes. GIPA programmes included enforcement seminars for judges, prosecutors, customs officers, and other government officials. Since 2000, 40 enforcement related programmes had been undertaken. He looked forward to examining how GIPA could continue to support the enforcement priorities outlined in the communications of Uganda and Sierra Leone. 87. In conclusion, he said that his delegation was supportive of the efforts suggested in both assessments to promote innovation, human skill development and building capacity for technology transfer in these countries. In particular, he encouraged efforts such as improving business education and awareness about intellectual property for small and medium-size enterprises, since entrepreneurs were the innovators and income generators in the economy, and making sure they understand their IP rights and how IP could benefit them was critical for sustainable developmental benefits from this effort.