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

Ambassador C. Trevor Clarke (Barbados)
European Union
B.iii Cluster 3 (Other elements such as costs and burdens and special and differential treatment)
162. In response to the comment made by the delegation of Chinese Taipei on shortcuts, the representative of the European Communities said that there had again been a misunderstanding. Firstly, it was not the "Bordeaux" producers who would notify the "Bordeaux" name to the register, but the Member where this GI originated. This Member could only do so in full respect of its IP legislation, which had to be WTO-compliant. Otherwise the other Members might take it to the WTO dispute settlement system. Secondly, the mere fact that "Bordeaux" was in the register did not entitle "Bordeaux" to be protected in Ruritania. With regard to the option that, where there was no opposition to that GI, it would be deemed to meet the definition, he said that would not be a problem. If there was nobody opposing "Bordeaux" in the Member where protection was being sought, where would be the problem? If there was an opposition, then there would be a debate. "Bordeaux" might be considered not to meet the definition in Ruritania despite its registration in the register. If it was found to meet the definition, that would still not mean that it would be protected: any third party could still claim the exceptions of genericness, prior trademark or prior use. Therefore the system would not create shortcuts but would facilitate protection in accordance with the mandate. 163. Finally, he said that he did not follow Australia's reasoning that the proposed system would entail costs for a country at domestic level. The TN/C/W/52 proposal did not change the current situation: all Members were already obliged, if there was a dispute on a GI, patent or trademark, to provide assistance in settling a dispute. His delegation did therefore not see any extra cost in that regard.
The Special Session took note of the statements made.