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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli and Ambassador Dr. Lansana Gberie

Notification under Article 63.2 of the TRIPS Agreement (Laws and Regulation) 49.   I would like to thank the WTO Secretariat for circulating to the membership the recent update of our notification under Article 63.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. This update contains all IP and TRIPS relevant changes in the Swiss legislation between February 2017 and December 2021. For the sake of brevity, I will not present the notified changes in a comprehensive manner. Short descriptions of every notified modification are included in the written document submitted to the WTO Secretariat. Two points may nevertheless deserve mentioning. 50.   First, on 1 December 2021, Switzerland acceded to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications. Under the Geneva Act, beneficiaries of geographical indications can obtain effective protection in the contracting parties through a single, simple and inexpensive notification procedure. The Swiss Federal Law on the Protection of Trademarks and Indications of Source and its ordinance were amended accordingly to implement Switzerland's adherence to the Geneva Act. 51.   Second, the Swiss Copyright Act was partially amended and entered into force early 2020. The revised Act strengthens the rights of creative artists and cultural industries. The main objective of the revision was to step up the fight against Internet piracy. Furthermore, the revised Copyright Act extends the term of protection for performers and producers from 50 to 70 years and brings important innovations for photographers, namely the protection of all photographs, both analogue and digital, whether photographers are professionals or amateurs. The revised Copyright Act also takes into account Switzerland's ratification of two international treaties administered by WIPO: the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. For further information on our notification up-date, we refer Members to the documents indicated in the Council's agenda for the present meeting under agenda item 1.

Checklist of issues on enforcement

52.   By decision of 21 November 1995, the TRIPS Council agreed on a checklist of questions and issues for Members to provide responses regarding their national enforcement laws and practices, as well as on the status of national implementation of the provisions on enforcement as contained in Part III of the TRIPS Agreement. Switzerland submitted its response to the Checklist in communication IP/N/6/CHE/1 in 1997 and in an up-dated version in 2014 in document IP/N/6/CHE/2. 53.   Since 2014, IP enforcement rules in Switzerland have again undergone a number of changes. Accordingly, the present up-date of our answers to the checklist of questions as contained in document IP/N/6/CHE/3 reflects the state of laws and regulations in relation to IP enforcement in Switzerland as of 1 January 2022. Again, we will not present these changes in detail and refer Members to document IP/N/6/CHE/3, as notified. 54.   As one illustrative example, let me nevertheless mention that the so called "Swissness" legislation, which strengthens the protection of the "Swiss Made" designation and of the Swiss cross, came into force on 1 January 2017. This new legislation lead also to a number of amendments on enforcement. More specifically, criteria applicable for the use of Swiss indications of source in relation to goods or services were specified and simultaneously, the Swiss Federal Institute of IP has been empowered with further competences to enforce these rules. 55.   We encourage Members, which have not yet done so or which, at their domestic level, have made changes in their enforcement laws and practices to update this information. Members thereby contribute to transparency in this Organization, a key commitment Members agreed to when founding the WTO for the sake of promoting a regulatory environment that fosters global trade for the benefits of Members. 56.   Finally, my delegation would like to thank the WTO Secretariat, specifically Ms Natalie Carlson and Ms Sandra Smith, for their much appreciated assistance in the process of up-dating our notification and answers to the checklist through the e-TRIPS Submission System and for making them available through the e-TRIPS Gateway. While this required some adjustment to our previous approach to notifications, we see the benefits of the e-TRIPS Submission System. It supports Members in notifying promptly and efficiently new laws and regulations instead of doing so in bulk and in longer time intervals.

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