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

H.E. Ambassador Dr Lansana GBERIE
368.   Before thanking the co-sponsor and sharing our national reflections please allow me to extend best wishes to the people of Ireland and all people celebrating Saint Patrick's day today. 369.   With regards to the paper, we thank the co-sponsors, and our capital is still considering the paper and the questions entailed therein. We recall the paper prepared by the Africa Group on policy space for industrial development submitted to the General Council. The paper emphasizes the need for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure that trade rules promote a better balance between protection and incentives to promote research and innovation on the one hand and the unfolding needs of society on the other. It emphasizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed this imbalance. Article 8 of the TRIPS Agreement provides that Members must take steps to safeguard the public interest in economic and technological development. Articles 7 and 8 of the TRIPS Agreement express the intention of the drafters of the TRIPS Agreement to allow countries to pursue measures protecting their societal needs. However, Members have not developed mechanisms to achieve these objectives. We are considering this submission in the context of this background. In our view we need to enhance our discussions on how we bring a better balance to ensure that the IP system, while supporting research and development, enables an effective response to societal challenges and is not an obstacle. 370.   South Africa is in the process of developing its system of Substantive Search and Examination (SSE) of patents and has already been cooperating with other IP offices in developing its capacity. Could the co-sponsors advise how they see the WTO playing a role in the context of cooperation between IP offices given the initiatives taking place under the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)? Furthermore, given the nature of the TRIPS Agreement, the recognition of different levels of development, the link of the IP system to economic policies and development trajectory of Members, we need to caution against one size fits all approaches and I believe colleagues would recall such discussions within the context of the substantive patent law treaty. There are concerning objectives outlined in the submission such as the need to ensure that applicants obtain the same scope of rights for the same invention in multiple regions/countries based on the same standards. The implications of this need to be properly discussed and unpacked.
63. The Council took note of the statements made.
61. The Chair said this item had been put on the agenda at the request of the delegations of Australia; Canada; the European Union; Hong Kong, China; Japan; Singapore; Switzerland; the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu; the United Kingdom and the United States of America. These delegations had also submitted a communication on this topic, circulated in document in order to allow Members to prepare for today's discussion.
62. The representatives of Japan; the United States of America; Singapore; Switzerland; Australia; Chinese Taipei; the United Kingdom; Canada; Hong Kong, China; the European Union; Korea, Republic of; Peru; India; Bangladesh; South Africa; Canada and the World Intellectual Property Organization took the floor.
63. The Council took note of the statements made.
IP/C/M/107, IP/C/M/107/Add.1