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

Ambassador D. Mwape (Zambia)
A.i First sub-question
53. The representative of Switzerland said that her delegation believed the Chair's approach was a very good way of improving Members' understanding of the proposals on the table and of current national practices. Her delegation's response to the two sub-questions at the last meeting was recorded in paragraphs 39 and 43 of the minutes so that there was no need to repeat them. She would, however, like to emphasize the fact that the responses recorded there did not only apply to GIs for wines and spirits but were applicable to all products in Switzerland. 54. In clarifying a couple of additional points, she said that currently the different Swiss authorities that decided on the protection of geographical indications or trademarks were obliged to consult instruments that were sources of law, and to implement information and obligations in those sources of law. These included national laws, ordinances and regulations that were developed on the basis of those national laws as well as international treaties. All of those various sources of law contained substantive information regarding geographical indications and trademarks that were examined. The obligation to consult did not just refer to those instruments but also specified the legal consequences flowing from the consideration of the information in those instruments to determine whether or not a term deserved protection. The national authorities consulted other sources of information such as dictionaries, the Internet, atlases, and databases if necessary in an individual case to form a reasoned decision. In the proposed procedures there were also opportunities for certain bodies to make comments or provide information which the authorities would take into consideration in accordance with the rules of procedure applicable in each case. 55. This also meant that if there was a new source of information, that source would not be covered by any domestic legal obligation to consult and consider that information. According to information received at this stage this was the situation not only in Switzerland but also in many other countries. For those reasons, it was not sufficient for the proposal W/10 to create an obligation to consult information contained in the Register but Members needed to add complementary information. The proposal TN/C/W/52 did remedy this. It created the obligation to consult and consider the information on the Register without challenging the principal of territoriality, as the final decision on whether or not to protect a GI was left to national authorities. With regard to sanctions, she referred Members to her delegation's responses at the last meeting on the various ways of appealing decisions in Switzerland. 56. In concluding, she recalled that the TN/C/W/52 proposal also covered the other two TRIPS subjects, GI extension and disclosure of the country providing/source of genetic resources which were, as another delegation had pointed out, essential ingredients for a successful cocktail. She said that given the broad support it enjoyed, the flexibilities it contained and the concessions it represented, compared to the original positions on the Register, TN/C/W/52 was an important proposal which should be taken into account in the course of this negotiation.
The Special Session took note of the statements made.