When the WTO agreements entered into force in 1995, least developed countries (LDCs) were given until 1 January 2006 to implement the obligations contained in the then-newly adopted TRIPS Agreement. In 2002, the LDC transition period was extended until 2016 for pharmaceutical patents, with a later decision in 2005 extending the period for all intellectual property rights until July 2013. The 2005 decision also had a “no roll back provision” providing that LDCs should not implement policies during the transition period with a “lesser degree of consistency with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.”
WTO members this week discussed a proposal by least developed countries (LDCs) to extend their transition period for implementing the organisation’s intellectual property rules, which is set to expire this July. Members at the 5-6 March meeting of the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) also debated a proposed New Zealand law that would require plain packaging for tobacco products; a similar Australian policy is already facing three separate challenges at the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body.
Last week’s meeting of the WTO’s Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) saw talks proceed on a host of issues, including counterfeit goods, exceptions and limitations to copyright, and a long-running dispute over a Cuban rum trademark.
US, Japan table submissions on counterfeit goods
The topic of counterfeit goods resurfaced at the 5 June meeting, with several developed countries – including the EU, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and Switzerland – arguing that such products can have serious health and safety implications.