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

H.E. Ambassador Dr. Walter Werner
5   PROTECTION OF TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND FOLKLORE
65.   Ecuador would like to reiterate its position regarding agenda items 3, 4 and 5 and calls on the Council to consider encouraging discussion on the review of Article 27.3(b) of the TRIPS Agreement and the adoption of new rules on the patentability of all life forms or parts thereof. Ecuador has stated that it is imperative to prohibit this type of patents because life or parts thereof should not be considered a tradeable good. 66.   It is important for Article 27.3(b) to be in line with the themes of the Convention on Biological Diversity: countries have sovereign rights over their biodiversity and the benefits resulting from its use should be distributed equitably. 67.   This takes us to the second item, regarding the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity. As we have said, the two are related and complement each other. 68.   The CBD, the objectives of which are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, recognizes that systems of intellectual property protection may have an influence on its implementation. In that regard, its Contracting Parties undertake to cooperate in order to ensure that such rights are supportive of and do not run counter to its objectives. Additionally, in many cases these genetic resources represent traditional knowledge. 69.   This leads to the third item on the protection of traditional knowledge and folklore. Ecuador has noted the importance of having multilateral legal instruments that can improve the use of genetic resources, associated traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions and give them effective and adequate protection. It has also noted the need to establish legal mechanisms to allow disclosure of the source of origin, prior informed consent, access and equitable benefit sharing. 70.   With respect to these points, we would lastly like to refer to the updating of the factual note on the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was last updated in 2006. 71.   Ecuador must insist that the aim of this update is to provide Members with greater input in order to enrich the discussions and help move them forward, and stresses that each Member's position would remain intact. 72.   As we have said, we acknowledge the small gains that have been made to date in achieving this objective, which will certainly be of benefit to the Council, and we call on the delegation of the United States to show flexibility in its position.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matters at its next meeting.
14.   The Chair proposed that, following past practice, the three agenda items would be addressed together. Members had seen important developments in these areas, over the last decade. However, information on those developments had not been shared with the TRIPS Council. For example, the Review of Article 27.3(b) was based on an Illustrative List of Questions agreed by the Council. To date, only 25 Members had submitted responses to that list and there had been no responses or updates since 2003. Similarly, there had been no notifications of domestic mechanisms to protect genetic resources and traditional knowledge under Article 63.2 TRIPS. He encouraged delegations to submit or update responses and to notify relevant laws and regulations to the TRIPS Council. This would definitively facilitate and enrich the discussions. He recalled that there had been no new developments on two long-standing procedural issues, namely:
a. The suggestion, first made in November 2012, that the Secretariat update the three factual notes on the Council's previous discussions on TRIPS/CBD and related items; and
b. The proposal, initially submitted in October 2010, that the CBD Secretariat be invited to brief the Council on the Nagoya Protocol to the CBD.
15.   The representatives of India, Egypt, China, Brazil, Bangladesh, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Ecuador, Chinese Taipei, Chile, South Africa, Indonesia, Canada, Thailand, Australia, Japan, the United States of America, and Switzerland took the floor.
16.   The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matters at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/90, IP/C/M/90/Add.1