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

H.E. Ambassador Dr. Walter Werner
59.   The relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including the question of a disclosure requirement for genetic resources, has been on the agenda of the TRIPS Council and the WTO as outstanding implementation issues for many years. Switzerland recognizes that these are important concerns for many biodiversity rich countries. Switzerland, being a Party to both the CBD and the TRIPS Agreement, remain open to continue exploring ways to further enhance the mutual supportiveness of both international agreements. 60.   Transparency is inherent to the patent system. Transparency is also of key importance in the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. If an invention is directly based on genetic resources or traditional knowledge, transparency could be further enhanced by disclosing information on the source of the respective genetic resources or traditional knowledge. Such a disclosure requirement must be adequate, practical, non-burdensome and nonprejudicial to an expeditious and effective patent application, examination and granting procedure. By working out a solution along these criteria for the specific context of the TRIPS regulatory framework, the WTO will not only enhance transparency but also legal certainty at the international level. 61.   Switzerland is of the view that such a solution will serve the advancement and promotion of the patent system, in particular in relation to inventions in the field of biotechnology. These are some reasons why Switzerland is one of the coalitions of 109 Members that tabled document TN/C/W/52. It contains modalities proposals for such a requirement to disclose the source of genetic resources and traditional knowledge in patent applications as well as for enhanced protection of geographical indications, thus combining working proposals on these two outstanding implementation issues. 62.   Finally, Switzerland supports the request to the Secretariat to update its factual compilation notes on the discussions under these three agenda items and to invite the CBD Secretariat to brief the TRIPS Council on the Nagoya Protocol.
14.   The Chair proposed that, following past practice, agenda items 3, 4 and 5 would be addressed together. He noted that there had been important developments in these areas in many WTO Members. However, these developments had not been shared with the Council. Particularly, there had been no response or update to the Illustrative List of Questions on Article 27.3(b) (IP/C/W/122) since 2003; and only 25 Members had responded at all. Likewise, there had been no notifications to the TRIPS Council of domestic laws that related to the protection of genetic resources and traditional knowledge. He encouraged delegations to submit responses to the Checklist or update their previous responses; as well as to notify any relevant changes in legislation. At the previous meeting, delegations had continued their discussion on two long-standing procedural issues, namely 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 the proposal initially submitted in October 2010 that the CBD Secretariat be invited to brief the Council on the Nagoya Protocol to the CBD. He said that he had no new developments to report in this regard.
15.   The representatives of India, South Africa, Ecuador, China, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the United States of America, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Indonesia and Chile 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/91, IP/C/M/91/Add.1