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

Ambassador C. Trevor Clarke (Barbados)
United States of America
B.ii Meeting of 28 October 2009, p.m.
130. The representative of the United States asked whether there had been some suggestion that the Special Session discuss the protection of some 10,000 GIs. For her delegation, this presupposed an international effort to harmonize GI protection, which was at odds with the principle of territoriality, and actually even went beyond TN/C/W/52 by removing the determination from national authorities in accordance with their own domestic procedures. While she believed that some Members would like a one time approval of all intellectual property rights in the WTO, she was convinced that all Members would agree that this would go well beyond the mandate of the Special Session. 131. On the Chair's first question, her delegation would appreciate having more clarifications regarding on which basis the summary of certain points had been made. 132. She expressed appreciation for some of the additional clarifications given by Hong Kong, China. These would be helpful for her delegation in reviewing Hong Kong, China’s statement. 133. As her delegation was still unclear about what "duly taking into account", more precisely the qualifying term "duly", meant, it would have difficulty in agreeing to note what the obligation would be. Her delegation would be uncomfortable if it were to be said that there was an area of convergence. As already indicated at previous meetings, the issue of setting up the minimum standard at the multilateral level, applicable to all Members, was not an area of convergence. Her delegation would need to further examine the summary made regarding possible elements of the obligation to consult as proposed by the joint proposal. It was concerned about presupposing some sort of "weight" or "significance" and did not want to prejudice the discussion with such wording. 134. Also under the Chair's first question, the summarized point that Members could set up a system with minimum legal effects and leave the longer-term arrangement for review after the system had been in operation for a certain period of time could not be a point of convergence. 135. Under the Chair's second question, the first two summarized points, which described the TN/C/W/52 proposal elements, were clearly not points of convergence for her delegation. 136. Furthermore, her delegation found confusing the last summary under the Chair's second question, which said that the significance and weight national authorities should give to information on the register would depend, amongst other things, on whether the consulting country was satisfied that the notified GI was in fact a GI and on whether, for example, a trademark which was being applied for consisted of a GI in that country. If the trademark consisted of a GI in the country concerned, then little or no significance should be attached to the information on the Register. Where the trademark did not consist of a GI in the country concerned, than great significance and weight should be attached to the information on the register, assuming that the notified name was indeed a GI. 137. Another point summarized under the Chair's second question actually related to her delegation's statement that "Discussion should focus on how national authorities use the information on the Register in their existing domestic system rather than how the WTO should require national authorities to use the information, i.e., what kind of substantive weight or significance we should give a registration. It is not the role of the Special Session to evaluate and restructure substantive examination practices of each WTO Member." As it was a full statement, it should not be separated into two parts.
The Special Session took note of the statements made.