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

Ambassador D. Mwape (Zambia)
B.i First sub-question
44. The representative of Australia said her delegation supported the three-four-five approach outlined in the Chair's March report and saw particular value in continuing the ongoing technical discussions and sharing of national experiences to deepen Members' understanding of how the various proposals for a register could be implemented in the various national systems. Furthermore, her delegation regarded the Chairman's sub-questions as extremely useful and would welcome any additional questions concerning legal effects. While these questions were still being considered in capital, she wished to share with Members a preliminary good faith response to demonstrate Australia's welcoming of those questions. 45. Australia had several systems for the protection of geographical indications: the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, on the one hand, was responsible for the determination of geographical indications for wine and the Trademarks Act, on the other hand, protected geographical indications through certification and collective marks. She recalled that her delegation had provided a fulsome report in the March Special Session and therefore she would refrain from setting out how those systems functioned. Turning to the trademark system, she said that the trademark practice in Australia had evolved over 120 years, so that Australian examiners drew on and relied heavily on that practice. The types of information that were relevant for examiners depended among other things on the class covered by the trademark. If the trademark was a pharmaceutical-related trademark, then certain sources of information would be looked at and if the trademark was registered in class 33, then the specific wine register of the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation would be a relevant source for trademark examiners to draw upon. In general, however, Internet searches, dictionaries, and public sources of information were relevant when making determinations about whether a term could be protected as a trademark or a geographical indication. In addition, trademark examiners relied on precedents if there were cases of a similar kind, and gazettes were also a useful sources of information. She said her delegation would respond more fully to the Chairman's sub-question in future meetings, and further suggested that a side-by-side comparison of the proposals on the table would be useful to engage substantively in more detail on the different proposals put forward in writing.
The Special Session took note of the statements made.