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

Ambassador István Major (Hungary)
E.i Proposal from the European Communities and their member States for a multilateral register of geographical indications for wines and spirits based on Article 23.4 of the TRIPS Agreement (document IP/C/W/107)
45. The representative of Australia said that the EC proposal raised a number of issues which required careful and thorough analysis. Her delegation wished to offer its preliminary views and to seek clarification. It was encouraged by the statement by the European Communities that the proposal was not intended to change the level of protection accorded to geographical indications. She agreed with the distinction made by the United States between the level of protection and the nature of the obligations. Comparing the proposal with the provisions of the Section in the Agreement on geographical indications, it seemed to reflect, in some respects, a "more or less" relationship: sometimes more protection, sometimes less. Her delegation shared Canada's concern about the proposed effect of registration in relation to the voluntary nature of the system. If her delegation understood it correctly, in this respect, the proposal would provide more protection than required by the Agreement. Some aspects of the proposal would be onerous in practice, in particular the objection system which, from her delegation's own experience in dealing with these matters, was very resource-intensive, requiring a judgement on the acceptability of each specific indication notified as a geographical indication. As each Member that wished not to protect a particular indication must raise its own objection, issues of equity arose for those less well-placed to do so. Members might end up protecting certain indications by default. What conditions applied for raising objections? Was it necessary to establish a prima facie case, or was it sufficient simply to indicate that there might be a problem? She also sought clarification as to whether the proposal envisaged a rolling system where lists would come in on a fairly regular basis and constantly be updated. This could become unwieldy and be difficult for industry planning and not achieve the certainty and clarity hoped for. She sought any further information about the arbitration system envisaged and the role of national authorities. She wondered how the proposed system reflected the provisions on trademarks and homonymous geographical indications of the Agreement's Section on geographical indications and the exceptions provisions of Article 24. Further, in relation to the comments of Hong Kong, China on the various modes of protection of geographical indications, she noted that the review of national implementing legislation in the Council had shown that many approaches had been chosen by Members. She also signalled her delegation's slight mystification with the reference in the proposal to expansion of the register to other products, which seemed premature, if not speculative.