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

Ambassador Eui-yong Chung (Korea, Republic of)
C.iii What is meant by a "system of notification and registration"
108. The representative of Hungary said that the mandate in Article 23.4 distinguished between two different phases or steps that were meant to serve different purposes. It was clear from the debates that there were a number of common or similar elements in the two basic approaches presented to date, but there were also several important divergences. In his delegation's view, similarities were most striking regarding the notification element of the two basic proposals. It would and should not be difficult to bridge the differences in respect of the notification element. The basic difference between the two approaches was with respect to the mechanism and the effect of registration. He noted that registration in the "joint proposal" (IP/C/W/133/Rev.1) would be automatic and would lack any real legal effect. Therefore, it was fair to say that it would not add any meaningful value to notification. In fact, it would not even differ from it. The act of registration in the intellectual property right context normally entailed a genuine legal effect; probably the best example was trademarks and in particular certification marks, advocated by one Member as the most efficient way of providing protection for geographical indications. In the absence of a genuine legal effect, the end result, as suggested by the joint proposal, would seem not to constitute more than a mere database or a compilation of notifications. His delegation was in agreement with the other co sponsors of document TN/IP/W/3 that facilitating the legal protection must carry effects going beyond the mere reproduction of a list of names for informative purposes. In other words, a system without an effective registration element would not be in line with Article 23.4 of the Agreement. In this context, he asked the co sponsors of the joint proposal to shed more light on how they interpreted the word "registration" in the intellectual property context. 109. On the issue of costs, he said that there was hardly anything in the world any longer that was free and the WTO was far from being an exception. In the WTO, there was no negotiation which would not entail costs. There were costs associated with the negotiating process and costs associated with the implementation of results. This was true for the TRIPS area as well as other negotiating areas. Therefore, it did not make sense to talk about costs in the abstract. Costs always needed to be looked at in relation to the effects of the outcome. A system genuinely helping producers, consumers and administrations to get protection under Article 23 could more than justify even much higher implementation costs than a cheaper system that would, at best, not bring more confusion to the area than there already was in it.
IP/C/W/133/Rev.1; TN/IP/W/3