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

Ambassador Eui-yong Chung (Korea, Republic of)
C.ii.i Procedures
53. The representative of New Zealand said, as a preliminary comment on the factual material prepared by the WTO and WIPO Secretariats (C), that what struck her delegation was the low level of uptake on the multilateral systems of registration, particularly in the only two examples where registration did provide some sort of automatic presumption of protection. 54. With regard to the issue of the "mechanics", she said that the views on the multilateral system had been well presented by a number of other delegations as well as in the proposal co-sponsored by her delegation. Some statements made earlier had raised concerns to, or created confusion for, her delegation. She agreed with Switzerland that there should not be an avalanche of terms on the register, with all the implications for opposition procedures and costs, both for the administrating body of the register and the countries involved in the opposition procedures. The best way to avoid such an avalanche would be to reach a better common understanding of what the definition in Article 22.1 of the TRIPS Agreement actually meant, which would provide the Special Session with at least some a priori expectation of what terms could be on the register. She pointed out that the key proponents of the register had explained that one way of avoiding such an avalanche of terms could consist of having in the notification mechanism supporting documents to be made for each geographical indication going on to the register, for example, a judicial decision for each of the terms. She had thought that what was proposed would concern terms already protected in a WTO Member, but it seemed that it would also concern terms eligible for protection in that Member, which would, in fact, mean a greater set of terms which would be eligible for being put on the register. If a term was only eligible for protection in a WTO Member, then it would not always be possible to provide specific documentation making the case that the term was already protected at the national level. This would be the case where Members were implementing a system of GI protection on a common law basis, which did not necessarily require prior registration of a term. In that context, it would be difficult to ask Members to provide judicial decisions or specific documentation for every term which would be going into the register. That pointed to the need for a clear understanding of which terms under Article 22.1 countries would be eligible for protection in WTO Members and which were therefore eligible for being put on the register. This would have a direct impact on the other mechanisms, namely the opposition procedures and the costs.