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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
14.   In order to ensure transparency Pakistan notified its newly promulgated law of geographical indications (GIs) (Registration and Protection Act, 2020) in document IP/N/1/PAK/3, IP/N/1/PAK/G/1 as per Article 63.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. 15.   The GI law provides a legal and institutional framework which specifies the scope and terms of protection, registration requirements, revocation/cancellation mechanism, offences, penalties and related matters of GI registration and protection. 16.   As per the subject law the Federal Government shall be the holder and exclusive owner of all the GIs. It may allow any statutory body, public body, local or provincial administration, government enterprise or any government organization to apply for and register the product as a GI as a registrant. The producers or operators, with the formal assent of the Registrant, shall apply to the Registry for obtaining registration as authorized users. 17.   In Pakistan, a score of products has potential to be protected under the GI law and the subject law provides the required legal framework for the same protection. The GI protection will enable our producers and exporters to realize the true premiums of our products. Besides, this law is an important step to support rural development in the country through MSMEs and to enhance the livelihood of producers and skilled workers. 18.   Under the subject law, Pakistan GIs will be protected, branded and traded exclusively in the international market as Pakistani products. Moreover, the promulgation of GI law provides a unique opportunity to bring together various players of supply chain including producers, traders, exporters and government authorities to transform our products into value added market commodities.
1. The Chair invited the Secretariat to report on notifications that the Council had received since its meeting in July 2020.
2. A representative of the Secretariat said that the Council had received the following notifications under Article 63.2 of the TRIPS Agreement:
a. Chinese Taipei had notified regulations governing the filing of patent and trademark applications by electronic means, as well as regulations governing the application for compulsory licences for musical works and related royalties;
b. Australia had notified a consolidated version of its Patents Act 1990, as well as the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2020, which implemented the Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures;
c. Mexico had notified revisions of the Penal Code, as well as a Decree amending the Federal Law on Copyright regarding copyright protection in the digital environment;
d. The United States had notified their amended Plant Variety Protection Act and corresponding Regulations;
e. The United Kingdom had notified over 70 pieces of legislation that represent the evolution of the UKs law on trademarks and on designs since 1996;
f. Pakistan had notified its Geographical Indications Act 2020;
g. Myanmar had notified its new Plant Variety Protection Law;
h. Hong Kong, China had notified a Copyright Amendment Ordinance, which enhanced the Copyright exceptions relating to persons with a print disability in order to meet the standards under the Marrakesh Treaty;
i. Ukraine had notified amendments regarding its patent law reform, as well as amendments to strengthen rights to trademarks and designs, and to combat patent abuse;
j. Japan had notified a further revision to its Unfair Competition Prevention Act of 1993, which provided civil remedies against acts of unfair competition with respect to "shared data with limited access"; and
k. Slovenia had notified an Act Regulating Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights.
3. He added that, Albania and Slovenia had provided information on contact points for the exchange of information and cooperation on trade in infringing goods, under Article 69 of the TRIPS Agreement.
4. The representatives of Pakistan; Mexico; Australia; Hong Kong, China; Ukraine; Canada; Chinese Taipei; the United Kingdom; and the United States of America took the floor.
5. The Chair recalled that, at the July 2020 meeting, several questions had been asked regarding legislation notified by Canada and the European Union. She invited those two delegations to take the floor to respond to those questions or inform the Council of any follow up in this regard.
6. The representative of South Africa and the European Union took the floor.
7. The Chair noted that, notifications to the Council were not keeping up with the actual development of laws and regulations relating to TRIPS. She recalled that Article 63.2 was not a one-off requirement. It was a core element of the TRIPS transparency arrangements, and a central part of the Council's substantive work. Article 63.2 obliged Members to notify any new or amended laws in the area of TRIPS. The same applied to the Checklist of Issues on Enforcement which had been established by the Council as an element of Members' notification obligations.
8. She encouraged Members to notify legislative changes made to implement the special compulsory licensing system to export medicines covered by the new Article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement. More than 50 WTO Members, including most of the world's major exporters of medicines, had adopted implementing legislation that allowed them to use the System as exporters and/or importers. However, only 20 Members, including the European Union, had formally notified such measures to the TRIPS Council. The notification of all relevant laws and regulations could assist Members in preparing for the potential use of the System. This would also help the Secretariat in its efforts to provide informed technical support to Members in this area.
9. Finally, she welcomed the information provided by Members concerning their notifications, as well as the constructive exchange on Members' legislation we had under this agenda item.
10. The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
IP/C/M/96, IP/C/M/96/Add.1