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

Mr. S. Harbinson (Hong Kong)
C.1.i Article 63.2 concerning the notification of laws and regulations
30. The representative of Switzerland stressed that it was of fundamental importance that the Council addressed the notification procedures under the Agreement. It was necessary for the Council to establish priorities in considering these various notification procedures. Some of the notification requirements could be dealt with at a later stage, but others had to be addressed urgently, in particular those which defined the beneficiaries under the Agreement or which related to laws and regulations that were already in force. The reason for giving these matters priority lay in the fact that the very existence of rights was involved in the notifications in question, i.e. whether or not rights had been introduced in the Member in question in accordance with the Agreement or which options a Member had chosen for the determination of beneficiaries. Some of the notification requirements also concerned the work of other international organizations. In this regard, a question of cooperation arose in relation to WIPO because of its collections of existing laws and regulations. Having said this, it should be borne in mind, however, that these collections had not been established on a basis which could serve TRIPS purposes without further ado. The notification of laws and regulations under the TRIPS Agreement had a function in the prevention of disputes through the monitoring of the operation of the Agreement and the review of Members' laws. In WIPO, the function was only to provide information on Members' laws. The publication of texts by WIPO would not seem to be satisfactory as a working instrument for the purposes of the TRIPS Agreement. In light of these differences, he considered that notifications of laws and regulations should be submitted officially to the Council for TRIPS. This would not prevent the Council from subsequently making some arrangements with WIPO on technical and mechanical matters concerning the collection of these laws and regulations. It was both essential and possible to establish a clear division of responsibilities taking into account the distinct competences and needs of both organizations.