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

H.E. Ambassador Dr Walter Werner
World Trade Organization
29.   At past successive Council meetings, we have reported on the development and implementation of the e-TRIPS project, which includes a Notification Submission System (NSS) and an Information Gateway. 30.   We have reported to the Council over many recent meetings on the development and implementation of the e-TRIPS project. The WTO is custodian of a vast amount of notification and review material concerning TRIPS, and much related documentation. The central purpose of the e-TRIPS project is to make it easier for you, as delegates, to check and to update your notifications, and to make it easier to access and make use of this material. It fits entirely within the framework for notification and documentation procedures already laid out in the TRIPS Agreement itself and in the past decisions of this Council, and thus respects fully the guidelines set for us as the Secretariat. It is simply meant to offer a more user-friendly and efficient way of handling just the same material. 31.   The e-TRIPS comprises (i) a way in for new information – the Notification Submission System (NSS), (ii) a way out for the information, once processed – the TRIPS Information Gateway, and (iii) an information management system (IMS) that enables the Secretariat to work more efficiently with TRIPS information, to ensure it flows more efficiently, to ensure the accuracy and consistency of documentation, and to support Members in making effective use of the information. 32.   As Members, your encounter with the system naturally arises when providing updated notifications, and when you seek to consult information on the record. The NSS will be our recommended tool for the first function, and the TRIPS Information Gateway for the second. 33.   We are happy to announce that the first of these, the e-TRIPS NSS, is very close to completion. We aim to launch it for your optional use this summer, in advance of the busiest period for submission of new material, in the lead-up to the final Council meeting of the year. We will be reaching out to delegations at that time through a workshop and demonstration, and we will remain on hand to respond to requests for briefings and demonstrations more informally for individual delegations. At the same time, we will be turning to refining and developing the TRIPS Information Gateway – the improved means of gaining access to and using this information – although this will take some more time, as we are anxious to ensure that it is designed and implemented in a way that meets your diverse practical needs. 34.   What will the launch of the e-TRIP NSS mean for you? The e-TRIPS NSS is an entirely optional online tool for submitting TRIPS notifications, reviews and reports. The existing pathways for submitting notifications in other ways remain entirely open, but the intention is to provide a user-friendly tool for Members to be able more easily to identify the gaps in their current notifications. We hope that it will be a practical, user-friendly and efficient way to submit your information to the WTO Secretariat and to generally stay current with your TRIPS notification obligations. 35.   We have endeavoured to build the principles of transparency into the system. As examples, you will be able to see how many notifications you have submitted, how many are being processed by the WTO Secretariat, and how many have been issued. To allow you to streamline as much as possible, a feature to create templates is also in place. 36.   We appreciate that learning how to operate any new database system requires training. In that regard, we will make training sessions and materials on the use of the new system available, and this will form a regular part of our technical assistance activities. Further, we will reach out to you within the coming few months regarding an informal training session, to be held at the WTO, on how to use the e-TRIPS NSS. 37.   The e-TRIPS Gateway will give access to a database of WTO information related to the TRIPS Agreement – including your notified IP laws, your interventions at the TRIPS Council, your submissions to the TRIPS Council, among other types of TRIPS notifications, review materials and reports. Due in no small part to your interest and feedback, we have made a considerable amount of progress in developing the search and reporting features. 38.   We would like to brief you on just a sample of the types of features you can expect to see on the e-TRIPS Gateway. 39.   For example, you will be able to see, in just a couple of clicks, all TRIPS-related materials submitted by a Member, within a given time-frame. 40.   The e-TRIPS Gateway will also enable you to search the text of notified laws. 41.   The last feature we would like to highlight this morning is one which will allow you to produce a custom report of selected interventions in the TRIPS Council. What will this look like? 42.   After specifying your search criteria, you can select interventions you would like to view and then produce a simple Word document that contains those interventions you selected, along with some key information such as the dates of the meeting and the name of the agenda item. 43.   Similar to last summer, for those who may recall, we will be in touch regarding a very informal demonstration session to be scheduled this summer for interested delegations where the features will be explained in more detail, and we would invite your feedback and comments. 44.   In addition to this, we will soon have a -test site- of the e-TRIPS Gateway available for you to test and offer your suggestions and feedback. As we are still working on uploading all of the past TRIPS data, we will not be able to roll out the complete test site to you. However, as the TRIPS data is uploaded onto the gateway, more search forms and features will become available for you to test. 45.   In that light, we will send an email to our TRIPS delegate mailing list, letting you know when the test site is available. Also, you are welcome to register your interest in receiving a version of the "test site" of the e-TRIPS Gateway. Please send an email to . 46.   To close, we thank you for your interest and engagement in this project – especially all of the heightened interest over the past year. We appreciate very much that many of you have taken the time to strenuously test the system and provide feedback on your experience. This feedback loop has permitted us to create something we truly believe will facilitate easier and more practical access to TRIPS documentation and information, and to optimize our own internal procedures. 47.   I emphasize that the e-TRIPS systems are entirely within the requirements of the Agreement itself and the existing decisions of this Council concerning notification requirements. 48.   We are sincerely grateful for both your bearing with us during these past few years of its development, and for those delegates who took the time to test the NSS earlier this year. Your invaluable comments have helped us improve and fine-tune this system. 49.   No statements were made under this agenda item.
4.   The Chair invited the Secretariat to report on notifications that the Council had received since its meeting in February 2018.
5.   A representative of the Secretariat said that the Council had received the following notifications under Article 63.2 of the TRIPS Agreement:
a. Mexico had notified two Decrees, which amended and supplemented various provisions of the Industrial Property Law concerning a specific regime for geographical indications, the period of protection of industrial drawings, designs or models, and the opposition periods for patent and trademark applications (circulated in documents IP/N/1/MEX/I/13 and IP/N/1/MEX/I/14). Mexico had also notified its General Declaration on Protection of the Appellation of Origin "Yahualica", which protected the fresh and dried tree chili fruit belonging to species with specific taxonomic classifications (circulated in document IP/N/1/MEX/G/7).

b. The United States had notified updated trade secrets laws for all its states as well as for the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands (circulated in documents IP/N/1/USA/U/4 to 56).

c. Canada had notified its revised Trademarks Act and Patent Act. These Acts had been amended by Bill C-30 to implement the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union and its member States and to provide for certain other measures (circulated in documents IP/N/1/CAN/P/13 and IP/N/1/CAN/G/1).

d. The Kyrgyz Republic has submitted 16 notifications, including the notifications of its main dedicated IP laws and regulations, other laws and regulations or their amendments (to be circulated in document series IP/N/1/KGZ/…).

6.   Under Article 69, Ukraine had updated its contact points for the exchange of information and cooperation on trade in infringing goods and Cambodia had notified new information regarding its contact points. The Members' transparency toolkit page had been updated accordingly.
7.   The Chair invited delegations that had notified a new or revised legislative measure, or given responses or updates to the enforcement checklist, to briefly inform the TRIPS Council about the key points in the notifications. This had become a well-established tradition, as many delegations had followed this practice at recent sessions of the Council. It provided valuable insight into the notifications provided and promotes awareness and transparency.
8.   The representatives of Canada, the United States, Mexico and Chile took the floor.
9.   The Chair noted that notifications to the Council were not keeping up with the actual development of laws and regulations relating to TRIPS. He recalled that Article 63.2 was not a oneoff requirement, but obliged Members to notify any new or amended laws. Therefore, he urged Members to complete any outstanding initial notifications and to keep up to date with notifications on subsequent amendments. The same applied to the Checklist of Issues on Enforcement which had been established by the Council as an element of Members' notification obligations.
10.   He especially encouraged Members to notify changes made to their laws and/or regulations to implement the special compulsory licensing system to export medicines that was now covered by the new Article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement. At least 56 WTO Members, including many of the world's major exporters of medicines, had adopted implementing legislation that allows them to use the System as exporters and/or importers. This 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.
11.   The Chair invited the Secretariat to provide an update on the development of e-TRIPS, an online platform for filing and consulting notifications and other Council documentation.
12.   A representative of the Secretariat briefed Members on the development of e-TRIPS.
13.   The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
IP/C/M/89, IP/C/M/89/Add.1