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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
United Kingdom
13.   As we have stated in previous sessions, the United Kingdom attaches great significance to the WTO notification system and its role in promoting transparency between WTO Members. Transparent notification of IP measures promotes a well-functioning international IP framework and through that the growth of innovative industries worldwide. 14.   To provide a clearer picture of the United Kingdom's IP framework to Members, we have been notifying to Members a number of legislative changes made since we last updated the Council on our IP laws and regulations. 15.   This process has continued, with Members receiving updates via the e-TRIPS system. We thank the WTO Secretariat for their patience and support throughout this process. Additionally, we have also recently notified a number of new laws relating to the UK's exit from the European Union. 16.   These have been of a technical nature, making amendments to domestic arrangements to ensure that UK national law continues to function effectively in light of the UK's exit, reflecting the Withdrawal Agreement and the retention of EU law in UK law, following the end of the transition period. 17.   With regard to our historic notifications, which covered the areas of copyright, patents and enforcement, I will cite examples along a path reflecting the changing world around us and the importance of ensuring that the UK IP system is fit for purpose and makes the most of technological developments. Our examples highlight how the UK has continued to help innovators and creators protect their IP rights. 18.   The UK remains committed to an effective and balanced IP regime that drives innovation, investment, and economic opportunity for the benefit of all. By ensuring that the system remains up to date, we have been able to make sure that our IP regime remains fit for purpose. 19.   The Copyright, etc Trademarks (Offences and Enforcement) Act 2002 amended the criminal provisions in intellectual property law, specifically the law relating to copyright, rights in performances, unauthorised decoders and trademarks, to ensure the penalties reflected the seriousness of the crimes they cover. 20.   This provision, as stated here, provides law enforcement with broader tools to help tackle IP crime and introduces further deterrents to criminals seeking to benefit from IP infringement. 21.   The UK continues to greatly value harmonisation of international systems and standards, supporting the ongoing evolution of a global system that fosters innovation and creativity – an update to the UK's IP system that demonstrates this was the Artist's Resale Right (ARR) Regulations 2006. 22.   Prior to the introduction of the ARR Regulations, there were no resale rights in the UK. The Artists' Resale Right entitles creators of artistic works to a royalty payment each time their works are sold by an art market professional. This right to the royalty has the same duration as copyright – generally, the life of the author plus 70 years. 23.   The 2006 Regulations also implemented aspects of Article 14ter of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. This is the only international agreement which grants and governs ARR. It is an optional right with a reciprocity obligation for and between countries that offer it, its implementation shows that the UK will make the most of the wider international framework to ensure its creators are duly rewarded for the fruits of their creative endeavours. 24.   We are still considering providing more details of the legislative changes and their functioning within the UK IP ecosystem, potentially in a workshop at a future point. The United Kingdom continues to look forward to engaging with all WTO Members in our collective effort towards defending and improving the multilateral trading system.
1. The Chair invited the Secretariat to report on notifications that the Council had received since its meeting in October 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. The Republic of Korea had notified a revised Copyright Act, a revised enforcement decree of the Copyright Act, and an amended Administrative Procedures Act;
b. Albania had notified amendments to the Copyright and related rights Act resulting from the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) and other strategic partnership documents with the European Union; as well as a decision on fees for services by the Copyright Directorate;
c. Sweden had notified amendments and consolidated versions of the Copyright Act, the Patents Act, the Design Protection Act, the Act protecting Typographies for Semiconductor Products, the Plant Breeder's Rights Act and the Trademarks Act, enacting new levels of penalties for intentional serious infringements, and introducing new crime classifications;
d. Croatia had notified a revised Patent Act amending the grant procedure and introducing a new concept of utility model; a revised Trademarks Act, introducing changes to the graphical representation of marks, clarifying the relationship between trademarks and geographical indications, as well as collective and guarantee marks, and assuring appropriate legal protection in relation to counterfeit goods in transit through the territory European Union;
e. Italy had notified a legal framework concerning the prohibition of ambush marketing and misleading advertising on the occasion of sport events or trade fairs of national or international relevance;
f. Ukraine had notified a law introducing a two-tier system of state management of intellectual property, establishing the National Intellectual Property Authority (NIPA) under the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture;
g. Japan had notified an amended Patent Act that upgraded the litigation system and entailed consequential amendments to the Design Act and the Trademark Act; and a revised Copyright Act that aimed at improving protection against inter alia pirated copies on the internet; and
h. The United Kingdom had notified over 100 pieces of legislation which included its "EU exit" legislation in a number of intellectual property areas, as well as primary and secondary intellectual property laws from different areas since the 1990s.
3. Furthermore, the United Kingdom had also notified its contact points for IP enforcement under Article 69 and for technical cooperation under Article 67. Macao, China had also updated its contact point under Article 67. The Plurinational State of Bolivia had made a notification under Article 31bis and paragraph 1(b) of the Annex to the TRIPS Agreement, indicating its intention to use the special compulsory licensing mechanism, also known as the "paragraph 6 system", as an importing Member.
4. He added that the "Annual Report on Notifications and Other Information Flows"(IP/C/W/676), which was also listed under agenda item 1, reflected the submission rates and trends in Members' notifications since 1996. He suggested that the Secretariat be given the floor to provide a more detailed introduction.
5. The representatives of the United Kingdom; Republic of Korea; Ukraine; and Japan took the floor.
6. The Chair thanked Members for the information provided on their respective notifications. She invited the Secretariat to present the "Annual Report on Notifications and other Information Flows".
7. A representative of the Secretariat took the floor.
8. The Chair recalled that, notifications to the Council were not keeping up with the actual development of laws and regulations relating to TRIPS. Article 63.2 was not a one-off requirement, as it obliges Members to notify any new or amended laws so that the Council can exercise its monitoring function. The "Annual Report on Notifications and Other Information Flows" provided a Member-by-Member overview of their most recent notifications. It illustrated that a number of Members had not notified any of their legislative changes for sometimes over ten years.
9. She urged Members to update their notifications by submitting any new or revised laws or regulations to the Council, as well as completing their initial notifications in case any material was still outstanding. This applied also to the Checklist of Issues on Enforcement which had been established by the Council as an element of Members' ongoing notification obligations. All of these notifications could be made through the e-TRIPS Submission System. The Secretariat was available to answer any question in that regard.
10. The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
IP/C/M/98, IP/C/M/98/Add.1