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

Ambassador Eui-yong Chung (Korea, Republic of)
United States of America
C.ii.ii Costs
68. The representative of the United States said that the system that the US delegation was supporting would not be completely without costs. Certainly, those Members choosing to participate would have to compile their notification information in the format decided upon, would have some cost involved with any opposition that might arise under their national law and would have to monitor their own domestic geographical indications to be sure new ones were notified and that those that had been successfully opposed or had lapsed from non-use or otherwise ceased to be used as geographical indications were in fact withdrawn. Members or nationals of Members that opposed, under national law, indications notified by another Member would also bear some costs. The US delegation believed, however, that such costs would certainly not be as great as those they would face under the proposal put forward by other Members. The Secretariat's only task in relation to the system in the Joint Proposal (TN/IP/W/5) would be to design, compile and maintain these notifications in a searchable format, perhaps accessible through the WTO public website. Providing access through the public website would enable Members to make use of it to determine whether the terms they were considering using were already claimed by others. Those participating in the system would use the database to obtain information for use in any domestic procedure involving consideration of geographical indications. Designing, compiling and maintaining the database would involve some cost for the WTO. In the US' view, it would be inappropriate that those costs be apportioned to all Members, since not all would benefit because they did not produce wines and spirits for international trade and would not likely be participating in the system. This was an issue that a number of Members had raised with the US delegation bilaterally. Finally, the US delegation recommended that Members consider authorizing the Secretariat to apportion fees based on the volume of geographical indications notified. Those Members that benefited most from the system should contribute to its upkeep in proportion to those benefits.