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

Ambassador Dacio Castillo (Honduras)
Adoption of the agenda
5. The representative of South Africa joined India in raising his objection to the introduction of item K. IP enforcement had become a very prominent and pressing issue internationally. Whilst the debate in formulating solutions to that issue was diverse, there was consensus that counterfeiting and piracy had reached very alarming level, which continued to rise. At the same time, the main actors, such as governments, right holders, the civil societies, international organizations, relevant institutions, scholars, academics and practitioners generally disagreed on the actual level of piracy and counterfeiting. They also disagreed on its effects and the tools to be employed to combat it. As a result, the process of finding suitable solutions had been and continued to be a global challenge. 6. There was no harmonized definition of trademark counterfeiting or even of what constituted criminal trademark infringement. TRIPS Article 51, footnote 14(a) and (b) provided narrow definitions of "counterfeit trade mark goods" and "pirated copyright goods". However in policy discourse, the term "counterfeit" was often used much more broadly. In many debates, it seemed that the concept of counterfeiting had been broadened to include infringements of trademarks, copyrights, patents and industrial designs. This expanded usage was not substantiated in fact or otherwise, and should not be applied to generic medicines. The WHO was currently dealing with this issue and the Working Group of Member States on Substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products had its adopted terms of reference to formulate a definition of "substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products" to address access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable medical products, including the supply and use of generic medical products. He felt that item K went beyond the Council's mandate and was already covered in other more appropriate fora.