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

Ambassador Chak Mun See (Singapore)
127. The representative of Australia said, in response to the statement made by the representative of India, that her delegation acknowledged the fact that the issues listed on page 12 of the minutes of the last meeting had been raised for some time. It also acknowledged and shared the views that these issues were important ones. It would have no difficulty with continuing discussions in the TRIPS Council and would support an open-ended approach. It wished however to make the point that the text of Article 27.3(b) was itself quite narrow in focus. The provision related essentially to an optional exclusion from the scope of patentable technology. It would be disproportionate and counterproductive for this rather narrow provision to bear the entire weight of concerns about the overall balance of rights and obligations in relation to biotechnology, intellectual property rights and the TRIPS Agreement. In that regard, there were other provisions of the TRIPS Agreement on measures concerning abuses of intellectual property rights, including anti-competitive practices, ethical, health and environmental patenting issues, compulsory licensing, and public policy exceptions to the patenting criteria of novelty, of inventive step and industrial applicability in the patent law. With regard to Article 27.3(b), the Australian delegation was of the view that a much more inclusive approach to information gathering was necessary. The Australian delegation held the view that discussions on more general issues in relation to the scope of Article 27.3(b) could be taken up in the context of the review under Article 71.1. It also pointed out that some of the issues raised were already taken care of in the WIPO work program. It would be counterproductive to have parallel work on the same issues.