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

Ambassador C. Trevor Clarke (Barbados)
B.i Cluster 1 (Legal effects and participation)
61. The representative of Ecuador thanked the EC for the written compilation of the oral statements made at last December's meeting. He said that his country, regardless of its participation in the alliance on TRIPS-related issues, expressed full support to the proposal in TN/IP/W/10/Rev.2. As was stated by the representative of Argentina, the joint proposal, co-sponsored by Ecuador, fully reflected the developmental dimension and therefore the development concerns of developing countries in the Doha Round. His delegation was concerned by the fact that the EC's new thoughts of establishing legal presumptions, such as the prima facie evidence that a name put by a Member on the register would comply with the definition of GI in another Member where protection was being sought, or that any claim that the name was generic should be substantiated. For Ecuador, such assumptions would undermine the principle of territoriality, as already stated by the delegation of the United States. The principle of territoriality, guaranteed by the TRIPS Agreement, had been intensively defended during this week's regular session of the TRIPS Council. 62. His delegation was concerned by commitments of such a magnitude that would limit the legal capacity of the intellectual property authorities in Ecuador. The legislation of Ecuador stated that a name that did not comply with the definition contained in the national legislation could not be declared a "geographical indication". It would run counter to tradition or mislead the consumers as to the characteristics, features and qualities of the products concerned if that name was declared a GI while it was a generic term for the specialists in the area or for the public at large. The new approach developed by the EC would definitely imply that Ecuador's current legislation would make the principle of territoriality negotiable, and would, therefore, limit the legal capacity of the national IP authorities to assess the merits of an application for GI protection by reversing the burden of proof. He asked the EC to further clarify the issues, and associated his delegation with the question raised by the delegation of El Salvador on final decisions by national courts. 63. As regards participation, the clear proposal presented by the European Communities was exactly what Ecuador did not want. Participation should be voluntary.