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Archived updates for Thursday, March 10, 2005

Developing Coutries Split on WIPO Agenda

According to the March 9, 2005 issue of BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest, a group of developing countries calling itself the "Group of Friends of Development" has rejected the outcome of the February 15-16 of selected WIPO members in Casablanca on the global patent harmonisation process. The Group includes Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Kenya, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Venezuela.

In direct response to the Casablanca meeting of developing nations, the Group sent an official statement to the WIPO Secretariat on March 7, formally challenging the legitimacy of the action plan that had been adopted there. Their statement emphasised that decisions taken by WIPO's General Assembly must be taken transparently and multilaterally. The Group's statement also stressed that according to the General Assembly's mandate, informal consultations by the Director General should focus on establishing a date for convening the Standing Committee on Law of Patents and cannot legitimately involve substantive discussions that go beyond the current state of negotiations in the General Assembly.

“By reaffirming our position on the Substantive Patent Law Treaty, our statement effectively counters Casablanca and makes it clear that the Casablanca statement does not represent any kind of a consensus and has not taken account of our views.� a developing country official reportedly told Intellectual Property Watch. “The statement of the Friends of Development has now opened the door for other developing countries to begin distancing themselves from the Casablanca outcome.�

A separate group of developed countries being led by the United States is also attempting to move patent harmonization talks outside of WIPO.

The next official meeting to discuss the WIPO Development Agenda will take place on April 11-13 2005 at its Intersessional Intergovernmental Meeting.
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