Actas - Consejo de los ADPIC - Ver detalles de la intervención/declaración

Mr. Martin Glass (Hong Kong, China)
World Trade Organization
403. The representative of the Secretariat said that, in May 2009, in response to the letter from the Chair of the General Council, and in order to facilitate its consideration of the issue of improving the timeliness and completeness of notifications and other information flows, the TRIPS Council had requested the Secretariat to prepare a factual background note summarizing the relevant procedures and providing references to the relevant decisions, as well as information on the use of these procedures by Members, and also to prepare suggestions for the Council's consideration on how to improve the transparency and user-friendliness of the notification system. In October 2009, the Council had considered the ensuing document, IP/C/W/543, which contained several suggestions which had since been progressively put into effect, as reported to successive meetings of the Council. Document IP/C/W/543 had reported a very high rate of coverage of laws provided in initial notifications to the Council, but a more mixed record for subsequent notifications of new laws and amendments. The improved system for providing notifications, and incorporation of this element into regular technical cooperation activities, seemed to have helped Members in updating their notifications, and had simplified and streamlined the flow of documentation. Since the Council's last meeting, the WIPO-WTO Common Portal had become fully operational, and had been the source of a number of the new notifications circulated before the Council at its current session. So far, in recent weeks, 64 additional legislative texts had been notified by nine Members. 404. The WIPO Secretariat had been an excellent partner in this process, and deep gratitude was recorded for their extensive cooperation and collegial approach to improving the Secretariat services provided to Members. The two Secretariats were working together to promote awareness and practical functionality of the system, guided by several practical suggestions from delegations who had used the system. The WTO Secretariat remained on hand to work with any delegate who wished to have a practical demonstration or otherwise required assistance in making use of this mechanism. He recalled that the portal was not an alternative to the notification procedures already laid down by the TRIPS Council: As reported to earlier meetings of the Council, these procedures were well established and no need to alter them had been identified in the work on this agenda item. From the formal or procedural point of view, the portal arrangement was simply another practical avenue for submitting legislative texts – in effect, another opening in the post-box rather than a separate post box. Legislative texts continued to be submitted, also, in the conventional way – by direct communication to the Secretariat, in person, by e-mail or by post, and were processed alongside other notifications regardless of the specific avenue chosen by the Member concerned. In recent months, the Secretariat had received notifications from seven Members in this manner, and it remained of course an open option for other delegations wishing to use it. Notifications submitted that way would continue to be processed as normal, and also would be passed to WIPO in line with the longstanding arrangements. 405. Whatever avenue Members chose for their notifications under the TRIPS Agreement, the Secretariat continued strongly to encourage Members to submit their texts in digital form, as close as possible to a clean text with a minimum of unusual formatting (such as headers and footers and line breaks), and in a standard word processing document format. This step alone would make an enormous difference in the timeliness and accessibility of the notified materials. The original request by the Council in 2009 had included suggestions that the notifications should be made more easily accessible on the WTO webpage. This had partly been achieved through the TRIPS Transparency Toolkit that was reported upon in earlier meetings. In addition, in the light also of the Paperless Secretariat initiative, the Secretariat was working upon approaches to make the notification materials more accessible for the users wishing to consult them, for instance, in technical cooperation activities for which accessible notified materials were an increasingly useful practical resource.