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

H.E. Ambassador Dr Lansana GBERIE
European Union
178.   The European Union submitted its annual report on technical and financial cooperation programmes carried out between July 2021 and July 2022 together with the member States. The European Union carried out 14 technical cooperation activities during the reporting period and also the member States contributed as well, as I said, France, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, and Germany. The programmes covered all IP rights in the TRIPS Agreement and some of the programs were multiannual programs consisting of many activities to the benefit of LDCs and developing countries. 179.   Today we would like to highlight to these programmes, and I would like to say as well that this report is not exhausting. There are so many programmes to support and for cooperation in Africa not only but elsewhere as well that it is quite difficult to be exhaustive in this kind of report. So, we will limit ourselves today in talking about two programmes: one is the well-known by our friends in Africa is the AfrIPI and the other one is the IP Key in Latin America. 180.   As regard AfrIPI programme, AfrIPI is the pioneer Africa-wide EU-funded IP cooperation project, which commits joint action between the European Union and Africa to boost intra-African trade, and to facilitate African-European investments for economic growth and sustainable development. With a budget of EUR 17 million, the project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the EUIPO, our agency for IP, in partnership with key African continental, regional and national institutions such as the African Union Commission, of course, the AfCFTA Secretariat, the "Organisation Africaine de la Proprieté Intellectuelle" (OAPI) and the Africa Regional Intellectual Property Office (ARIPO). 181.   The overall objective is to facilitate intra-African trade and African and European investment. The Specific Objective is that IPR are created, protected, utilized, administered and enforced across Africa, in line with international and European best practice and in support of the AfCFTA and the African Union's Agenda 2063. There are 4 outputs foreseen: a. Output 1: Promoting international agreements in the area of IPR and reinforced cooperation between the European Union and Africa in order to facilitate fact-based AfCFTA negotiations. b. Output 2: Strengthening national and regional IP institutions, networks, and tools, for more efficient and user-friendly IP protection and enforcement systems. c. Output 3: Strengthening the capacities of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)/productive sector on the importance and value of IP protection (including GIs) in the African society. d. Output 4: Implementation of the priority actions identified by the work plan linked to the Africa Union Continental Strategy for GIs. 182.   One part of what we have selected in the multitude of programmes is covered by AfrIPI, the French government and the French companies - and the French public entities are very active. 183.   An illustration of the implementation of the AfrIPI by the EUIPO agency is the training programme for judges. This is a training seminar for judges in the OAPI region, including the sharing of experiences and launch of the future case law database of African court decisions in intellectual property matters. A second seminar is currently taking place in Dakar to launch a vast network of judges. 184.   In addition, France is participating in a project being piloted by WIPO. In cooperation with the French National Institute for Intellectual Property (INPI) and the OAPI, the French National School for the Judiciary (ENM) is implementing this pilot programme for the training of trainers in judge academies in the following three countries: Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal. The aim of the programme is to train judge trainers so that each new judge graduating from the judge academy can follow the modules on intellectual property. A guide on case law is to be published to accompany this project. The modules have been developed by the French ENM in Bordeaux, and ENM trainers provide training to the judges selected (two for each country). The AfrIPI is the most ambitious programme we have on IPR in Africa. 185.   Now I give the floor to my colleague Mr. Martin Gajda to deal with the IP Key Latin America. IP Key Latin America is the European Commission's programme to implement the objectives of the European Union in the area of IPR, through international cooperation with Latin American countries. Signed between the EU and the EUIPO in 2017, it is co-founded and implemented by the EUIPO and a total estimated cost of EUR 6 million. 186.   The overall objective of the programme is to promote a level playing field for EU companies operating in Latin America by contributing to greater transparency and fair implementation of the IPR protection and enforcement system in there. EU businesses will benefit from improved IPR protection as well as from the achievement of adequate and effective functioning of IP administration and enforcement procedures in Latin America. 187.   Furthermore, companies and right-holders should benefit from an increase in the technical expertise of Latin American countries and organizations on how to improve IPR related laws and proper implementation of trade agreements with the European Union. EU businesses will also benefit from enhanced access for EU users to IP information of Latin America IPO databases, which is crucial to their business and IP protection strategies abroad. These will be facilitated by the implementation of innovative tools and databases created by the European Trade Mark and Design Network (ETMDN). 188.   The final beneficiaries will be reached mainly through active involvement of key business support and multiplier organizations operating in Europe and Latin America, as well as industry representatives and umbrella organisations. At the same time, Latin American innovative and creative business will take due advantage of such improvements in the level of protection and in the efficiency of enforcement of IPR which should, to a certain extent, enhance international trade and make the economies of the region more attractive to foreign investments. The programme has certain objectives and output and impacts: a. First one is a substantive support for the preparation and development of FTA negotiations. The expected result of the project is to obtain data and information on local IPR legislation, protection and enforcement to assist the European Commission in the preparation, negotiation and implementation of FTAs in the region such as national or regional case law and the IPR institutional framework and resources. b. Another one is the information collection and strategic analysis to prepare regional integration in Central America. Under this result, the project activities provide a detailed overview of the situation regarding IPR legislation, protection and enforcement and the capacity and efficiency of the IPR offices and institutions in the relevant countries. Encouraging and improving regional cooperation and integration on the processing and enforcement of IPR would support EU businesses operating across the region. c. Third impact is the effective support for IP Dialogue and sub-committees and Implementation of FTAs. Appropriate actions are to be delivered in accordance with the decisions and indications that emerge from discussions during the existing and future IP dialogues and sub-committees held by the EU with Latin American countries. The Action also proposes interventions that assist the various countries involved in Latin America with obligations arising from the commitments taken in the context of the trade agreements with the EU. The action also includes the provision of ad-hoc support, in the form of support activities in relevant IP working groups. d. Another output is the improvement of the IP administration and the enforcement of practices including the increased use of IP information technology tools and the establishment of an enforcement network. The Action is targeting an increased uptake of EU IT tools by the local IP offices to improve access to the IP system and to facilitate processing of IP applications and registrations. It will also comprise outspreading the EU approach in the elaboration of laws and development of best practices directed towards ensuring an efficient and transparent administration of IPRs. As regards enforcement, the action will be based on the development of enforcement networks in support of increasing the effectiveness of ICT tools and as well as on the exchange of best practices as regards IPR enforcement. e. Another important objective is the awareness on the importance of intellectual property, its protection and enforcement. This outcome is attained by organising actions directed towards the promotion of the understanding of the importance of IP protection from the perspective of social and economic development, and to favour foreign investment. f. One last objective of this programme, or output rather, is the improvement of the information sharing through information management system (IMS) and document repository. In order to ensure a sufficient institutional memory and easy accessibility by all interested stakeholders of the documents emanating from the project (such as reports, studies, surveys), an information management system will be set up and a document repository created.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
53. The Chair recalled that in July 2022, the Council had agreed to hold the annual review of technical cooperation at the present meeting.
54. Developed country Members had been requested to update information on their technical and financial cooperation activities relevant to the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement. Other Members who also made available technical cooperation were encouraged to share information on these activities. The Secretariat had issued an Airgram on 11 July 2022 reminding developed country Members of this request. Intergovernmental organizations observers to the Council and the WTO Secretariat had also been invited to provide information.
55. The Council had received information from the following developed country Members: Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda the European Union has also submitted information in this regard. These reports are being circulated under the new dedicated document series with the symbol where "R" stands for "Reports" and "TC" stands for "Technical Cooperation".
56. Intergovernmental organizations had also submitted updated information: the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda, had also submitted information in this regard. Their reports were being circulated in the same document series .
57. The report of the WTO Secretariat on technical cooperation activities in the TRIPS area was available in document .
58. The representatives of the European Union; the United Kingdom; the United States of America; Australia; Switzerland; Canada; New Zealand; Japan; Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group; the WTO Secretariat; the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); and the World Health Organization (WHO) took the floor.
59. The Chair noted that most of the valuable information provided by Members and IGO observers had been received only very recently. He would provide delegations an opportunity at the next regular meeting to make further comments on the information submitted.
60. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/106, IP/C/M/106/Add.1