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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli
1 NOTIFICATIONS UNDER PROVISIONS OF THE AGREEMENT
45.   The delegation of Japan is pleased to inform the Council that Japan recently amended its Patent Act, Design Act, Trademark Act, and Copyright Act. The amendments have been notified to this Council in accordance with Article 63.2. The reference numbers are , , and . These are now available from the WTO website. Taking this opportunity, we would like to briefly explain some major points about the amendments. 46.   The Patent Act was amended to allow the parties subject to oral proceedings for a trial or appeal to complete required procedures using a video conference system without physically appearing in the trial court for the proceedings, provided that the chief administrative judge indicates his/her decision to allow such options. The revised act is also to stipulate a new rule for the exemption of patent surcharges during a predetermined period targeting right holders who, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, or other similar reasons, have failed to meet the due date for the payment of patent fees. The Design Act and Trademark Act were also revised in the same way. 47.   The Copyright Act was revised from two perspectives. One is reviewing provisions on rights restrictions relating to libraries. The other is facilitating rights handling for streaming of broadcast programmes on the Internet such as simultaneous streaming service. The amendment enables enhancing access to information in libraries by the public and promoting research activities. In addition, the amendment enables increasing viewing opportunities for high-quality contents equivalent to TV broadcasting on the Internet, and the convenience of viewers can be improved. 48.   The Government of Japan will continuously fulfil its obligation to ensure the accessibility and the transparency of the Japanese intellectual property system.
12. The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
4. The Chair invited the Secretariat to update delegations on the notifications under various provisions of the TRIPS Agreement that had been submitted since the meeting in October 2021, to then offer the floor to delegations wishing to introduce their notifications.
5. The representative of the Secretariat said that the Council had received the following notifications, under Article 63.2 of the TRIPS Agreement:
a. Australia had notified amendments to its Designs Act that implemented recommendations from a review of its designs systems, providing more flexibility to designers in the early stages of getting registered design protection;
b. Japan had notified revisions to its Design Act, Patent Act, Trademark Act and Copyright Act;
c. The Russian Federation had notified amendments to its laws permitting compulsory licensing with regard to patents, industrial designs, and layout-designs, and introducing provisions that allow compulsory licensing of pharmaceutical products for export;
d. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had notified has notified a Law on Commercial Courts that established rules and procedures for commercial courts that included claims and violations arising from the implementation of intellectual property laws;
e. The United Arab Emirates had notified a new law on the Regulation and Protection of Industrial Property Rights encompassing patent, utility model, industrial design, integrated circuit layout design, as well as undisclosed information;
f. The United States had notified its Trademark Modernization Act of 2020, which provided, inter alia, new procedures to challenge Federal applications and registrations with bogus or inaccurate claims of use;
g. Trinidad and Tobago had notified a consolidated version of its Trade Mark Act, which modernized numerous aspects of the trademark regime, including definitions, well-known marks, registry organization and border enforcement protection against counterfeit trademark goods;
h. The United Kingdom had notified a Trade Mark and International Mark Amendment Regulation 2021, addressing questions of retained European Law pertaining to trademarks; and two Orders amending the 2016 Copyright and Performances Order extending further protections to certain countries' nationals in order to implement recent free trade agreements signed by the United Kingdom and in response to countries recently joining the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty;
i. Switzerland had notified amendments and regulations related to: patents and the Federal Patent Court; drugs and medical devices; Protection of Trademarks and Indications of Source; protection of designations of origin and geographical indications for agricultural products; use of Swiss indications for foodstuffs; copyright and related rights; designs protection; as well as on the protection of the coats of arms of Switzerland, the Swiss Red Cross, and the Names and Emblems of the United Nations Organization and other Intergovernmental Organizations; and
j. Brazil had notified amendments to its Industrial Property Act, its Plant Variety Protection Law, and several other laws and regulations in order to promote the ease of doing business.
6. The Chair invited delegations that had provided new or revised notifications to the Council to introduce those notifications. The representatives of Australia; Brazil; Trinidad and Tobago; Japan; Switzerland; the United States; the United Kingdom; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and the Russian Federation took the floor.
7. The Chair invited the Secretariat to introduce the "Annual Report on Notifications and other information flows" (document ).
8. The representative from the Secretariat took the floor.
9. The Chair thanked delegations for the information provided on their notifications and welcomed the information provided by the Secretariat. He noted that notifications to the Council were not keeping up with the actual development of laws and regulations relating to TRIPS and emphasized that Article 63.2 of the TRIPS Agreement 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. The "Annual Report on Notifications and Other Information Flows" (document ), which had been introduced by the Secretariat provided a Member-by-Member overview of each Members' most recent notifications and a number of Members had not notified any of their legislative changes for, sometimes, over ten years.
10. He urged Members to keep up-to-date 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. The same applied to the Checklist of Issues on Enforcement which had been established by the Council as an element of Members' notification obligations. In this regard, he commended Switzerland for the submission of updates to its responses. However, most of the responses by other Members had not been updated for the last 20 years. Detailed information on individual Members was available from the Annexes of the Annual Notification Report.
11. The Chair recalled that all these notifications could be made through the e-TRIPS Submission System. The Secretariat was available to respond to any question in that regard.
12. The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
IP/C/M/104/Add.1, IP/C/M/104/Rev.1, IP/C/M104