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

Ambassador W. Armstrong (New Zealand)
Czech Republic
I Review of the application of the provisions of the Section on geographical indications under Article 24.2
53. The representative of the Czech Republic said that his delegation supported the proposals advanced by the European Community. Referring to the Council's 1996 report, in particular the issues and recommendations related to geographical indications to be brought to the attention of the Singapore Ministerial Conference and the anticipated submission of inputs by delegations on the issue of scope, he said that his delegation was of the view that, in order to attain the objectives of the Section on geographical indications, further efforts were desirable to provide adequate standards concerning the availability, scope and use of intellectual property rights in this area. The provisions of this Section, in particular Articles 23 and 24, provided room and opportunity for taking action as might be agreed in order to facilitate the operation of the Section and the attainment of its objectives, including increasing the protection of geographical indications under Article 23 and dealing with problems arising from the different levels of protection under Articles 22 and 23. The complexity of the issues related to geographical indications required early work aimed at further evolution in this area. Limitation of the higher level of protection under Article 23 to wines and spirits denied a number of products, and countries producing these products, the protection for their geographical indications often urgently needed in order to deal effectively with imitations, counterfeits and other such uses of their geographical indications. One of the possible approaches to resolve this problem could be to enlarge the scope of Article 23 by encompassing other products of interest to WTO Members. His country had a strong interest in the additional protection of geographical indications for beers. His delegation saw the review under Article 24.2 as a continuing process requiring the Council to pay constant attention to matters affecting the operation of the Section on geographical indications and the compliance with its obligations. This process, which in his delegation's view corresponded to the recommendations and approaches outlined in the Council's report to the Singapore Ministerial Conference, should not be impaired by any impediments or time constraints and should proceed step by step aiming at securing a more absolute protection also in respect of other products. His country intended to participate in this process and would offer appropriate inputs which would address the issue of scope and improvement of the protection of geographical indications under Section 3 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement.