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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
Central African Republic
16.   This is the first time we have taken the floor at the TRIPS Council meeting and would like to express our appreciation of your commitment to advancing TRIPS issues within the multilateral trading system. We would like to inform Members that three texts issued by the Government of the Central African Republic have been notified in accordance with Article 63.2. 17.   The texts are as follows: a. Order of 24 May 2005 establishing a National Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Goods by Means of Geographical Indications. The Committee's functions include the following: (i) to identify agricultural, artisanal, fishery and livestock products that could benefit from geographical indication protection; (ii) to promote a policy whereby producers are organized into structures that are able to identify, produce and ensure the protection and defence of products recognized as having a geographical indication; (iii) to train and raise awareness among producers so as to enable them to take ownership of geographical indications; and (iv) to participate actively in WTO discussions on improving international protection for geographical indications. b. Order establishing the National Intellectual Property Council. The Council's membership includes public institutions, the private sector and civil society. Its objectives include the following: (i) to develop a national strategy for economic, social and cultural development based on intellectual property; (ii) to issue opinions on all matters concerning intellectual property at the national level; and (iii) to submit proposals to the Government for the promotion of intellectual property, the defence of related rights and the improved coordination of sectoral policies and strategies in this area. c. Decree of 3 February 2017 on the protection of trade names. This Decree provides for the mandatory protection of the trade names of all commercial, artisanal, agricultural, industrial and service-providing establishments throughout the national territory. All natural or legal persons engaged in an industrial, commercial, agricultural or service providing activity must register their trade name at the National Liaison Body for the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. 18.   The Central African Republic has the honour to present these three texts within the framework of the implementation of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. We stand ready to provide Members with any further explanations or clarification.
1. The Chair invited the Secretariat to report on notifications that the Council had received since its meeting in March 2021.
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 consolidated versions of its Trademark Act, its Patent Act, and its Design Protection Act. It had also circulated a consolidated version of its Agricultural and Fishery Products Quality Control Act, as well as the corresponding enforcement decree.
b. Viet Nam had notified its Criminal Code, its Civil Code, and a number of circulars and laws related to the implementation and administration of its intellectual property system.
c. Slovenia had notified new versions of its Copyright and Related Rights Act and its Industrial Property Act, transposing EU Directives into domestic law.
d. New Zealand had notified Amendments to its Copyright Act 1994, Patents Act 2013 and Trade Marks Act 2002 to implement New Zealand's commitments under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). It had also notified a revised Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act, including associated legal instruments, and an amendment to the Copyright Act to implement the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.
e. Ukraine had notified minor corrections to already notified amendments regarding the law establishing its National Intellectual Property Authority.
f. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had notified licensing rules for providing intellectual property services, as well as a consolidated version of the revised Designs Act.
3. Furthermore, Tonga had notified its contact point for IP enforcement under Article 69.
4. Regarding notifications relating to the Special Compulsory Licensing System, Antigua and Barbuda had made a notification under Article 31bis and para. 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. The Plurinational State of Bolivia – following its notification in February of its general intent to use the system – had since notified its need to import an estimated 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines under Art. 31bis and para. 2(a) of the Annex to the TRIPS Agreement.
5. The Chair encouraged delegations that had notified a new or revised legislative measure, or a new or updated response to the Enforcement Checklist, to inform the Council about the key points of their notification. He invited delegations to share information regarding their own notifications. This had become a well-established practice, followed by many delegations at recent sessions of the Council. It provided valuable insight into the notifications provided and promotes awareness and transparency.
6. The representatives of the Republic of Korea; Japan; the Plurinational State of Bolivia; the Central African Republic; the United Kingdom; South Africa; the European Union; and Canada took the floor.
7. The Chair noted that, while the pace of notifications to the Council had increased in recent years, they were still not keeping up with the actual development of laws and regulations relating to TRIPS. He emphasized 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. It obliged Members to notify any new or amended laws in the area of TRIPS, including those recently adopted to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The requirement included the notification of legislative changes made to implement the special compulsory licensing system to export medicines covered by the new Article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement. The notification of all relevant laws and regulations could assist Members in preparing for the potential use of the System – a matter of immediate practical concern at present. It would also help the Secretariat in its efforts to provide informed technical support to Members in this area – again, a very practical need in the context of the current global health crisis.
8. 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 was established by the Council as an element of Members' notification obligations.
9. The e-TRIPS submission system was available for Members to notify their laws, and to make other required submissions to the TRIPS Council, through the click of a button. The system facilitated the submission of information by Members and permitted digital access, consultation and analysis of this information through the e-TRIPS Gateway, an easy-to use interface to search and display information related to the TRIPS Council. The Chair asked the delegations to contact the Secretariat if they had any question in that regard.
10. The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
IP/C/M/100, IP/C/M/100/Add.1