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

Ambassador Carlos Pérez del Castillo (Uruguay)
68. The representative of Australia referred to the paper his delegation had submitted on the matter, which outlined some of the questions relating to new technologies and access to technology and the valuable role of electronic commerce in this regard. On the issue of technological neutrality and some of the developmental concerns that had been raised, he emphasized that technological neutrality was a shorthand for recalling that the introduction of a new technology did not subvert or overturn the existing intellectual property framework, which had been the abiding value of the intellectual property system. He underlined two key areas where the recognition of technological neutrality was important for his delegation. One of them was the domain name issue and its linkage to trademarks and geographical indications as well as names of international organizations. This was an area where the technologically neutral nature of intellectual property had been highlighted. The advent of the Internet as a means of communication and the invention of the domain name system as a means of facilitating contact between computers did not abolish trademark law or the systems for protecting geographical indications and names of international organizations. There had been an upsurge of misconceptions about this that had followed in the wake of the development of the Internet as a global communications tool. These misconceptions had been gradually explored and his delegation was still in the process of determining the relevant implications. As a general principle, it was clear that to misuse a trademark or a geographical indication remained an infringement of the relevant intellectual property right regardless of the technological environment in which the use took place. As regards geographical indications, the principles remained the same regardless of whether their misuse took place on a bottle or on a website. 69. Continuing, he said that the second major area his delegation wished to underscore was the balance between holders and users of intellectual property rights. This was an important balance that had been struck in the copyright domain. He referred to the valuable statements that had been made in association with the conclusion of the WIPO copyright treaties. He recalled that there were important exceptions to copyright that allowed for limited educational use and limited use in research institutions and the like. The issue of technological neutrality came before the Council because of the need to ensure that the same balance was preserved in the digital environment. By way of example, he referred to the right of libraries to make limited copies of portions of literary works for educational purposes, which applied whether copies were made by using a photocopying machine, transcribing by hand, digital scanning or by downloading from the Internet. Consequently, recognition of the technological neutrality of intellectual property rights was an important issue for his delegation.