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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
European Union

Document IP/N/1/EU/36 11.   Regarding the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1235 of 12 May 2021 supplementing Regulation (EU) 2019/787 of the European Parliament and of the Council with rules concerning applications for registration of geographical indications of spirit drinks, amendments to product specifications, cancellation of the registration and the register (OJEU L 270, 29.07.2021, p. 1), The text includes the secondary legislation of Regulation (EU) 2019/787 on spirit drinks for the part which concerns the protection of geographical indications for spirit drinks. In particular the text concerns specific rules for applications for registration (concerning additional requirements for the single document, Member State's application dossier, admissibility of the application, national transitional period); amendments to product specifications (concerning applications for Union amendments to product specifications, admissibility of applications for approval of Union amendments, standard amendments to product specifications, Relationship between Union and standard amendments, temporary amendments to product specifications); rules on cancelling a geographical indication (concerning cancellation procedure, admissibility of cancellation requests); the register and the final provisions. This Regulation entered into force on 12 August 2021. Document IP/N/1/EU/37 12.   Concerning the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1236 of 12 May, this text includes the implementing rules of Regulation (EU) 2019/787 on spirit drinks for the part which concerns geographical indications of spirit drinks. In particular the text concerns applications for registration (joint applications, single document, geographical area, additional national scrutiny procedure); opposition procedure (procedural rules); amendments to product specifications (concerning applications for Union amendments, communicating a standard amendment, communicating a temporary amendment, cancellation (cancellation requests), use of the Union symbol, controls (concerning verification of compliance with the product specification); communications (communications between the Commission, the Member States, third countries and other operators, submission and receipt of communications, information to be made public), personal data and final provisions; templates (in Annexes). This Regulation entered into force on 12 August 2021.

The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
1. The Chair invited the Secretariat to update delegations on the notifications under various provisions of the TRIPS Agreement that the Council had received since its last meeting in June, to then offer the floor to delegations wishing to introduce their notifications.
2. The 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 consolidated version of its Customs Act, as well as the corresponding enforcement decree.
b. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had notified a regulation regarding the optional registration of copyright works with the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property.
c. Slovenia had notified a decree on the implementation of the EU Regulation concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights, and a consolidated Trade Secrets Act transposing EU Directive 2016/943 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information into domestic legislation.
d. Japan had notified a consolidated version of its Patent Act clarifying the scope of protection for trade secrets contained in the investigation report, and a consolidated Trademarks Act that revised the method of calculating compensations for damages.
e. Viet Nam had notified regulations on certain charges and fees to assist businesses and ensure social security in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
f. The United Kingdom had notified a number of separate laws and regulations in the areas of Patents, Trademarks and Designs legislation.
g. The European Union has notified two Regulations supplementing the rules concerning applications for registration of geographical indications of spirit drinks.
3. Under Article 69, Uruguay had notified its contact point for IP enforcement.
4. The Chair encouraged delegations that had notified a new or revised legislative measure, to inform the Council about the key points of their notification. This had become a well-established practice, followed by many delegations at recent sessions of the Council and provides valuable insight into the notifications provided and promotes awareness and transparency.
5. The representatives of the European Union; the Republic of Korea; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Viet Nam and the United Kingdom took the floor.
6. The Chair noted that notifications to the Council were not keeping up with the actual development of laws and regulations relating to TRIPS. He 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. It obliged Members to notify any new or amended laws. 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 had been established by the Council as an element of Members' notification obligations. The e-TRIPS platform facility now made it very easy for delegations to fulfil these transparency obligations.
7. The Chair encouraged Members, to notify in particular 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. But 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 and would also help the Secretariat in its efforts to provide informed technical support to Members in this area.
8. The Chair noted that a more comprehensive picture of how the special compulsory licensing system had been implemented in Members' domestic law could help Members' on-going discussions about how this particular TRIPS flexibility works in practice, and about the causes of any potential delays or hindrances in using the system.
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 e-TRIPS system not only facilitates the submission of information by Members – it also permits 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 Secretariat is available to respond to any question in that regard.
10. Finally, the Chair recalled that the Secretariat's "Annual Report on Notifications and other Information Flows" had been issued in March 2021, as document . The report summarizes submission rates and identifies trends for each of the primary TRIPS transparency mechanisms and will be updated ahead of the first formal meeting TRIPS Council in 2022.
11. The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
IP/C/M/103, IP/C/M/103/Add.1, IP/C/M/103/Rev.1