Compte rendu ‒ Conseil des ADPIC ‒ Afficher les détails de l'intervention/la déclaration

Ambassador Chak Mun See (Singapore)
116. The representative of Australia thanked WIPO for its update on the current work concerning the Lisbon Agreement. In his delegation's view, the information provided was most pertinent to the issues under discussion in the Council under this agenda item. Some of the alive issues discussed in WIPO at the moment deserved the TRIPS Council's consideration as well, for a better understanding of how an international registration system for geographical indications would operate. As examples of such issues, he referred to the grounds, procedures and evidence required for refusal of protection under an international system; the legal status of registrations; issues of amendments; and the implications of amendments to geographical indications notified. Along with other delegations, he thanked the European Communities for their responsiveness to comments made at earlier Council meetings and for their willingness to enrich the debate on these issues. His delegation was also in favour of a detailed debate, not merely on specific proposals but on the issues behind them, because it saw this as the most productive way of resolving these negotiations. To that end, he drew attention to the paper his delegation had submitted under the agenda item concerning Article 24.2. Some of the broader public policy issues and intellectual property policy issues raised in that paper would need to be borne in mind as one worked towards the conclusion of these negotiations. For example, one issue was whether there was to be a form of global right for an individual geographical indication or was the trend rather towards determining this jurisdiction by jurisdiction. Another question concerned what was the nature of the presumption concerning the notification of a geographical indication. Was it to be presumed that, because a geographical indication had been notified, the burden of proof was on others to demonstrate that it had another signification in their jurisdictions? Was there to be some form of dispute settlement mechanism to resolve issues concerning the signification of individual words for consumers in each and every WTO Member? What would be the implications of such a mechanism for all? Another issue raised concerned the voluntary nature of the mechanism to be established. There was a need to come to some understanding about the options that Members had in relation to these systems. For some Members, the wines and spirits sectors was not of great economic significance and these might have some reluctance to invest considerable resources in this area. This was not the case for Australia, but his delegation had systemic concerns on this matter. The costs involved were also a relevant issue, especially at the national level. Probably the main systemic issue was whether, in taking part in the system to be established, an individual Member was expected to have some form of pre-emptive decision-making process, i.e. a registration process or another administrative or judicial process. This ran two ways. If a Member would be obliged, when a geographical indication had been notified by another Member, to take a decision as to whether that geographical indication was already protected in some form in its jurisdiction, how could one do this in the absence of a registration system or another form of pre-emptive decision-making process? If a Member only provided protection through unfair competition law or similar consumer protection laws, would it be necessary to go to court in order to get a finding as to whether or not the term in question was to be protected and, if so, under what conditions? In order to illustrate the complexity of the matter, he referred to the example concerning the term "Orange" in his delegation's paper submitted in the context of the review under Article 24.2.