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

Ambassador C. Trevor Clarke (Barbados)
2. The Chairman introduced the report contained in document TN/IP/19 that he had prepared on the work of the Special Session covering his period of Chairmanship from October 2008 to November 2009 and which had been issued on 25 November 2009. He said that the report had been prepared on his own responsibility as Chair and was without prejudice to the positions of Members and to the final outcome of the negotiations. Having consulted with several delegations during the drafting stages of the report, including in an open-ended informal meeting on 20 November, he had received many valuable comments, suggestions and some expressions of concern. As he had foreshadowed at that meeting, not all of these comments had been accommodated in the final text. It was nonetheless his view that the language in the final report was one which could help to stimulate ideas on how to advance the negotiations in line with the mandate. 3. The report was divided into three parts: Part A provided a brief factual summary of the work carried out since October 2008; Part B provided a brief status of the issues of (a) Consequences/Legal Effects of Registration and Participation; (b) Notification and Registration; and (c) Other Issues. Part C revisited the most critical areas of legal effects and participation in light of the mandate and identified those areas nearing convergence, and where he believed future possibilities for compromise may lie. He said that after having reflected on the negotiations thus far, and building on the suggestions tabled in the Special Session, he had formulated five guiding principles in paragraph 16 of the document which he hoped would guide future work in these areas. Principles 1 and 2 aimed to reflect the debate that while there was no intention to increase the level of substantive protection of geographical indications (GIs) for wines and spirits (GI register), it was nonetheless clear that the register should be a useful and meaningful tool to both notifying and consulting countries. In his view, these two goalposts defined the zone within which an acceptable solution for an obligation could be found. Principle 3 confirmed the territorial nature of intellectual property rights. Principles 4 and 5 addressed financial and administrative burdens, and special and differential treatment, attempting to capture the status of discussions in this context. 4. In his view, during the negotiations in the WTO, too much emphasis was often placed on today's words and too little emphasis on tomorrow's ideas. With this in mind, he invited Members to comment on the report and to share their views on how the ideas contained in the report or any other suggestions could be used to advance their future work.
The Special Session took note of the statements made.