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Archived updates for Thursday, April 14, 2005

Development Agenda Talks Stall at WIPO Meeting

According to BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest on April 13, 2005, discussions at this weeks meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization largely repeated the positions outlined in the four proposals for the WIPO agenda to be more development-focused. These came from the US (IIM/1/2); Mexico (IIM/1/3); the UK (Observation from the UK); and the 14 original proponents of the WIPO "development agenda," now referring to themselves as the "Friends of Development" (FoD; IIM/1/4).proposals.

In September 2004, fourteen developing countries including Brazil and Argentina made a proposal (WO/GA/31/11 at for the 'Establishment of a Development Agenda forWIPO' to the organisation's main decision-making body.In response, WIPO members decided to hold an 'inter-sessionalinter-governmental meeting' (IIM) to discuss the proposal's call for wide-ranging changes to the mandate and functioning of WIPO, as well as related submissions from other member states.

After an attempt by the U.S. to move patent harmonization talks outside of WIPO, WIPO invited developed member countries to meet seperately in Casablanca in February 2005 in an apparent attempt to separate development and harmonization issues. Brazil was the only attendee to register opposition to the statement adopted at the end of the meeting. But on April 5, 2005, the Indian government circulated an informal note to Geneva-based Permanent Missions to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) rejecting the outcomes of the Casablanca meeeting. Many developing countries had charged that WIPO had, in organising the meeting, sought to sideline countries that donot support developed country ideas on patent harmonisation.

The April 11-13 meeting was the first session of the IIM, and was chaired by Ambassador Rigoberto Gauto Vielman of Paraguay. In this latest meeting, developed countries such as the US warned against turning WIPO into a development agency, pointing to the existence of other UN bodies such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Supporters of the FoD submissions countered that the call for a 'development agenda' is simply a request for the integration ofdevelopment concerns into WIPO's ongoing work, not for turning the organisation into a specialised development agency.

Both the US and the Mexican proposals reject any substantive changein WIPO's mandate. They focus instead on a general improvement of thetechnical assistance provided by WIPO. One of the means proposed by the US is the establishment of a partly web-based Partnership Programme in WIPO. The US proposal focuses on organisational issues, rather than respondingdirectly to the underlying substantive concerns expressed in both of the submissions. Rather than a concrete proposal, the UK submission was a strategy paper thatspelled out observations with respect to intellectual property anddevelopment. The UK paper recalls the outcomes of the report by the 2002 UK Commission on Intellectual Property Rights that had already asked the WIPO Secretariat to examine the impact of its work on development. While the UK submission clearly indicates its concern about the developmental impact of WIPO's activities, it does not see any reason for concrete change at this point in time.

After a long debate, members agreed that two further sessions of the IIM would be necessary and scheduled further meetings for June 20-22 and three-day gathering will be held in July. A final draft report on this session of the IIM is expected to be finished by May 11.
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Blogger Bill Heinze said...

See also, Non-Profits, Industry Offer Views On WIPO Development Agenda at

April 14, 2005 7:28 PM  

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