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

Ambassador D. Mwape (Zambia)
A.i First sub-question
21. The representative of New Zealand said that his delegation continued to support the Chairman's method of work as set out in his introduction. New Zealand had already responded to the sub questions at the last meeting and he noted that a good record of that intervention was contained in the minutes in TN/IP/M/26. In relation to the first sub question he would refer Members to paragraphs 29 to 38 of the minutes. Rather than repeating those statements again, he said his delegation would be happy to elaborate or to explain further if Members should have any specific questions. 22. In that same spirit, his delegation would appreciate clarification on some statements made at the last meeting. First, in relation to the statement by the European Union on the issue of guidance for domestic systems as to the consequences of consulting various sources of information. The delegation of the European Union had emphasized, as was reflected in paragraph 20 of the minutes, that to simply provide for a consultation of that information would not be sufficient because for a source to be truly relevant the competent authorities would need to have clear legally binding guidelines on the consequences to be derived from such consultation. 23. The European Union had also referred to the sources of information which the Commission consulted when making decisions. It had stated in paragraph 11 of the minutes that the Commission services would examine the information contained in the GI application file and would also consult and take into account any other sources of information they deemed appropriate. In view of the European Union's suggestion that there be legally binding guidelines on the consequences that consultation of the sources of information should entail, he asked the following questions: firstly, what were the clear legally binding guidelines on the consequences to be derived from consulting the application file; secondly, what were the clear legally binding guidelines on the consequences to be derived from examining other sources of information deemed appropriate; and thirdly, where were those legally binding consequences set out, in the EU regulation or in another text. 24. His delegation's second question concerned the issue of how GI or trademark examiners weighed information from various sources when they were making the decision. As his delegation had stated last time, New Zealand considered it important that examiners retained discretion regarding how to weigh various pieces of information from different sources on a case-by-case basis and not to have any particular source of information deemed to be more important than any other source or any other evidence that might be presented to the examiner. In relation to this issue, in paragraph 11 of the last meeting's minutes the delegation of the European Union had referred to the ex officio examination of an application and an objection procedure where third parties could file duly substantiated objections. The EU delegation had stated that on the basis of all of the information available the Commission would then decide either to grant protection or to reject the application. His question was how the Commission weighed the various pieces of information referred to in that statement, and whether the Commission was required to give greater weight to any of those various sources of information or whether the Commission had discretion to weigh that evidence on a case by case basis as it saw fit.
The Special Session took note of the statements made.