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

Ambassador Mero (United Republic of Tanzania)
World Trade Organization
1 Notifications under Provisions of the Agreement
58. At the last session of the Council we gave an extensive update and illustration of the progress made in what is a complete overhaul of the mechanics of the system of managing the receipt and processing of notifications and other review material under the TRIPS Agreement. The update on this project this time will be very brief indeed because, due to constraints, we have not progressed since the last session of the Council. The work on this project will resume, indeed, next week. This resumption of work has two specific practical implications for delegations. Firstly, we will be holding an informal workshop and demonstration towards the end of this month and will be inviting delegations to take part. It will be a hands on exercise, to work with you so as to get a sense of how the new system will operate and to get your direct feedback as practitioners and users. Further details will be communicated in due course. The second aspect is that as we approach the end of the year session, the November session of the Council, there is typically a large increase in the volume of notifications and other review materials. We would encourage delegations to get in touch with us informally because even in advance of the implementation of the full system which we will continue to work with and consult on, we do have interim arrangements, practical arrangements that should make it easier for you to make these submissions. So those two practical points are really the essence today and we will be following up with interested delegations later this month and in the busy period leading up to the November session.
The Council took note of the statements made.
1.1. The Chairman said that, since its meeting in March 2016, the Council had received a number of updates to earlier notifications of laws and regulations notified under Article 63.2 of the Agreement:

• The European Union had notified a recast of its Trademark Directive, as well as amendments to its Trademark Regulation;

• Shortly after the Council's last meeting on 1 March, Fiji had notified its Patents Act and the Trademarks Act, as well the Copyright Tribunal Rules of Procedure and the Copyright Prescribed Countries Regulation. This complemented the series of legislative measures that had been notified prior to the Council's last meeting and that had been introduced by the then Chairman at that meeting;

• Mexico had notified a series of legislative measures in the field of geographical indications and copyright and related rights. These included amendments to the General Declaration on Protection of the Appellation of Origin "Mezcal", amendments to the Federal Law on Copyright and amendments to certain provisions on telecommunications and broadcasting; and

• Japan had notified its Patent Act, Design Act and Trademark Act, as well as related enforcement ordinances in each of these areas.

1.2. In addition, the Council had also received a comprehensive set of notifications from two newly acceded Members:

• The Republic of Seychelles had notified its Copyright Act 2014, the Industrial Property Act and Regulations 2014, the Customs Management Act 2011 and related Regulations, as well as the Penal Code 1955 and its 2012 Amendment Act;

• Kazakhstan had notified three main laws on copyright and related rights, on trademarks, service marks and appellations of origin of goods, and on patents, as well as a comprehensive set of other legislative measures.

1.3. The Chair suggested that these notifications be taken up as part of the review of the national implementing legislation of the Seychelles and Kazakhstan respectively.

1.4. Finally, since the circulation of the revised draft agenda on 26 May, the delegation of Canada had notified legislative measures that amend the Copyright Act and the Plants Breeders' Rights Act, as well as an Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Patent Act 2014.

1.5. These notifications of laws and regulations were available in the IP/N/1- series of documents, and the actual texts of laws in sub-series of documents in electronic form on the Documents Online database.

1.6. The Chairman noted that the Republic of Seychelles had also notified its initial responses to the Checklist of Issues on Enforcement. No other initial responses or updates to earlier responses had been submitted since the Council's last meeting. He encouraged delegations that were yet to do so to submit their initial responses to the Checklist. He also invited other delegations that had submitted responses in the past, some of them dating back almost two decades to 1997, to consider updating the information provided, as appropriate, bearing in mind that the Checklist had been established by the Council as an element of Members' notification obligations.

1.7. As regards notifications of contact points under Article 69 for the exchange of information and cooperation on trade in infringing goods, since the Council's meeting in March, the Seychelles had notified a contact point under Article 69 for the first time. The information on the Members' transparency toolkit page had been updated accordingly.

1.8. The Chair particularly encouraged any delegation that had notified a new or revised legislative measure, or a new or updated response to the Enforcement Checklist to briefly inform the Council about the key points of the notified amendment or information provided. This had almost become a well-established tradition, as many delegations had followed this practice at recent sessions of the Council. It had provided valuable insight into the notifications provided and had assisted in promoting awareness and transparency.

1.9. The representatives of Japan, the European Union, Canada and Mexico introduced their respective measures. Benin, Brazil, India, South Africa, China and Indonesia also took the floor.

1.10. The Chairman urged those Members whose initial notifications of laws and regulations remained incomplete to submit the outstanding material without delay. Equally, he urged other Members to fulfil their obligation under the TRIPS Agreement to notify any subsequent amendments of their laws and regulations without delay after their entry into force.

1.11. He especially encouraged Members to notify changes made to their laws and/or regulations to implement the Decision on TRIPS and public health. At least 52 WTO Members, including many of the world's major exporters of medicines, had adopted implementing legislation that allows them to use the Paragraph 6 System as exporters and/or importers. That said, only 19 Members, including the European Union, had formally notified such measures to the TRIPS Council. Completing the notification of all relevant laws and regulations could assist Members in preparing for the potential use of the System. It would also help the Secretariat in its efforts to provide informed technical support to Members in this area.

1.12. The representative of the Secretariat provided the Council with a further update on its work to improve the user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness of the notification system.

1.13. The representative of Chinese Taipei took the floor.

1.14. The Council took note of the statements made.

IP/C/M/82, IP/C/M/82/Add.1