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

Ambassador Eui-yong Chung (Korea, Republic of)
European Union
C.iii What is meant by a "system of notification and registration"
103. The representative of the European Communities said that Article 23.4 demanded the establishment of a multilateral system of "notification" and "registration". In his delegation’s view, "notification" suggested that a preliminary phase take place prior to the registration phase. In that sense, "notification" clearly suggested the application phase, which would allow the body carrying out the registration to be informed of the applicant's intention to see a name being registered. "Registration" referred to a specific way of implementing the TRIPS requirement that differed, for example, from the common law approach based on case law. In the US, for example, implementation of Section 3 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement and legal protection of geographical indications were ensured via the registration of names as certification trademarks. Registration normally entailed legal protection, even in the US system of certification marks, although not in the proposal tabled by the United States and other Members. These two prongs of the multilateral system should be clearly distinguished. The functions and the effects attached to both phases of the process should also be clearly differentiated. The proposals made by the EC and their member States and by Hungary suggested that notification consist of the process whereby participating WTO Members would inform and transmit their geographical indications for distribution among WTO Members and begin the period for examination of those geographical indications by the WTO membership. "Registration" would, in turn, signify the conclusion of the process and the insertion of the name in the WTO register along with any objections that might have been made known. Conversely, the proposal of Canada, Chile, Japan and the United States (IP/C/W/133/Rev.1) made no clear distinction between those two phases. In this proposal, notification and registration were only one single phase in which names sent by the national authorities would all be ultimately recorded in a database. The proposal seemed to make no attempt to provide a differentiated meaning to those two terms.