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

Ambassador Federico A. González (Paraguay) (24-25 October) and Mr. Martin Glass (Hong Kong, China) (17 November)
World Trade Organization
368. The representative of the Secretariat said that a core objective of the work on the timeliness and completeness of notifications and other information flows was to make that material available in a more user-friendly way. The exercise was undertaken entirely within the parameters already set by the Council's own decisions and by the TRIPS Agreement itself, and followed directly the outline set out in document IP/C/W/543. The current focus was on reviewing the body of notifications, a collection of over 15 years' worth of documents that amounted to a massive body of data, data which was indispensable and highly useful for a number of practical uses, but taken together represented a significant information management challenge. Hence the increasing focus was on examining ways of using appropriate information technology tools to improve the usability and the accessibility of those data and to reduce wasteful and expensive paper-based approaches. That work took place within the context of a broader effort across the Secretariat towards a more integrated holistic approach to managing notification data. 369. In addition, there was a particular focus to address the backlog of notified material that was not yet available in text-searchable form. A further focus would be to work towards more user-friendly web tools for accessing and using the information contained in notifications, notifications that were essentially circulated or had been circulated solely as Council documents, rather than more accessible forms of information. That work would build on the initial work already undertaken as a pilot project in converting the contact point lists from a series of Council documents to a more easily consulted drop-down web list. The successful implementation of the common portal with WIPO for the submission of legislative texts and the improvement in timeliness and completeness of notifications that it had facilitated suggested that it might be possible also to look at other avenues for further cooperation along those lines, given the overlapping responsibilities between the WTO and WIPO that were recognized in the TRIPS Agreement itself. Other avenues might include facilitating the submission of texts through a notification tool and the continuing focus on suggested standard notification formats to facilitate the work, both of delegations and of those seeking to manage and process the data. 370. The notification materials were increasingly being used in technical cooperation activities responding to the demand from Members for information at a very practical level and in a factual way of the approaches taken by Members in relation to various areas of IP, law and policy. Further technical assistance activities had also promoted understanding of the notification processes, so as to advance the timeliness and completeness of notifications under the TRIPS Agreement.