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

Ambassador Dacio Castillo (Honduras)
13.83. The representative of Bangladesh said that he agreed that SMEs were important drivers of economic growth. However, SMEs, IP and innovation might not play the same role in all countries, especially in LDCs. Even the definition and capacity of SMEs in the developed countries were not the same as SMEs in LDCs. 13.84. Though IP and innovation were two distinct terms, both of them were associated with investment, economic growth, prosperity and social and cultural development. Unfortunately not every country was in a position to benefit equally from them due to various historical and systemic reasons. Developing countries and LDCs were not in a position to develop IP regimes according to their specific requirements and were unable to achieve sufficient innovation for development to occur. As a result, developing countries, and especially LDCs, lacked sufficient R&D facilities, institutional capability and human resources to utilize IP and innovation as tools for sustainable development. LDCs, in particular, faced greater challenges in developing and protecting their valuable IP assets and in developing their own IP regimes tailored to their needs particularly in areas such as agriculture, food security, rural development, human and social development, trade and technology. 13.85. Innovation was a continuous process and needed to move forward. However, the present IP regime failed to provide a level playing field and facilitate innovation in countries in the same way. It was seen that while the existing IP regime favoured innovation and commercial gains in some countries, it had a negative effect in developing countries. In most developing countries and in almost all the LDCs, the private sector lacked the capability to invest heavily in R&D. It was the public sector which filled the gaps of the private sector. Thus the IP regime in developing countries was supposed to be different from the IP regime of the developed countries. His delegation considered that IP was property with ownership rights, but also with privileges and obligations. Hence there should be a proper balance between rights and obligations for the effective use of both IP and innovation for SMEs. Developing countries and LDCs required special and differential treatment and different kinds of flexibilities together with transparent technical assistance that was development-oriented and demand-driven, as provided for in Articles 66 and 67 of the TRIPS Agreement.