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Archived updates for Monday, April 04, 2005

WIPO Considering Separation of Development Issues from Other Debates

According to Intellectual Property Watch on April 1, 2005, a key issue in the upcoming WIPO meeting on April 11-15, 2005 will be whether to create a Standing Committee on Intellectual Property and Development, possibly converting the WIPO Permanent Committee on Cooperation for Development Related to Intellectual Property (PCIPD). According to one official, developed countries and the WIPO Secretariat favour this approach, which would have the effect of relegating development issues to a specific forum within WIPO, thereby allowing for development issues to be ignored other WIPO committees.

The move to create a separate committee would follow along the lines how biodiversity issues are handled at WIPO, which some argue have seen little progress (at least on bio-piracy concerns) since the creation of an Intergovernmental Committee on IP and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. The committee’s creation also has allowed these issues to be sidelined in key debates such as on the Substantive Patent Law Treaty in other committees, the official said.

Non-governmental groups have also complained about WIPO’s limit on participation to already accredited organisations. Over 800 people have signed a letter called the “WIPO Manifesto for Transparency, Participation, Balance and Access,� asking that public interest NGOs be allowed to participate in the Development Agenda meetings as ad hoc observers. The letter calls on WIPO to provide assistance in creating a global regime that facilitates open access to knowledge, according to release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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