[Catherine Saez, IP Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] World Trade Organization committee members this week were asked to recommend to the upcoming ministerial conference whether to lift or indefinitely prolong a moratorium shielding intellectual property from complaints between members not involving a breach of a WTO agreement. Short of a consensus, the intellectual property committee will have to reconvene next month to try to find agreement. Separately, a two-year extension was granted to countries not yet having ratified the public health amendment to WTO IP rules.
Burcu Kilic and Renata Avila. Cross posted from Open Democracy, Link (CC-BY-NC)
As we enter the uncertain Trump era with respect to trade policies, one can only guess that big trade players will come back to the multilateral fora, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), as a reliable vehicle to foster their global trade agenda, especially as the free trade agreement (FTA) model fell apart after President Trump took office. Since the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) are on hold, a return to the multilateral WTO offers the best chance of progress on e-commerce rules.
Senior copyright industry experts described the Trans Pacific Partnership and other recent free trade agreements as likely setting a “high water mark” for intellectual property commitments in trade agreements. The statements came as part of a symposium last week on Trading in IP: Copyright Treaties and International Trade Agreements sponsored by Columbia Law School’s Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts.
Steve Metalitz, Partner at Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp LLP and long-time Counsel to the International Intellectual Property Alliance, kicked off the discussion
Reports from the WTO Public Forum held last week highlights a notable shift in the World Trade Organization toward an E-Commerce Agenda. The issue appears likely to be addressed substantively in the 2017 Ministerial Conference. Through then, the organization is likely to be increasingly discussing the form and objectives of a possible negotiation on the topic.
The WTO has had an explicit E-Commerce agenda since 1998. But the issue is receiving substantially increased attention in the WTO now.
A workshop hosted by Electronic Frontier Foundation discussed the opportunity to use any WTO engagement with E-Commerce rules to expand transparency and participation processes for internet companies and users, academics and the greater public.
My intervention at that panel discussed at least three major goals that the WTO may have in constructing a more open discussion of E-Commerce rules:
Originally posted on EFF Deeplinks blog, Link (CC-BY)
This week, EFF has been at the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s annual Public Forum. Best known to the general public as the locus of anti-globalization protests at its 1999 Ministerial Conference, it’s ironic that the WTO is today the most open and transparent of trade negotiation bodies—an honor it holds mainly because of how closed and opaque the trade negotiations conducted outside the WTO are, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or on its margins, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).
The WTO’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council discussed the topic of e-commerce last week for the first time since 2003, sources said, during a 7-8 June meeting in Geneva. Other topics on the meeting’s agenda included sustainable resources and low emission technology strategies, and the perennial issues of non-violation complaints and the relationship between the TRIPS agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In addition, the EU presented its new Trade Mark Directive and Trade Mark Regulation, which raised concerns with some members over possible restrictions on the transport of generic medicines through the 28-nation bloc’s borders.
WTO negotiators have agreed to extend a moratorium on “non-violation and situation” complaints under the organisation’s intellectual property rules for an additional two years, forwarding the planned decision to the global trade body’s upcoming ministerial conference for adoption. The news comes as WTO members continue discussing the extension of another moratorium on customs duties on electronic commerce, as well as a decision regarding next steps for an ongoing, related e-commerce work programme. These are also being eyed as outcomes for the ministerial, scheduled for 15-18 December in Nairobi, Kenya.
Joint Statement by 14 Civil Society Groups
Reposted from the Third World Network, Link
Today (6th November), the WTO-TRIPS Council adopted a decision granting Least Developed Countries (LDCs) an exemption from patents and test data protection for pharmaceutical products for a duration of 17 years. With this exemption, LDCs will not be obliged to implement or apply or to enforce patents as well as test data protection for pharmaceutical products until 1 January 2033.
[Reposted from the Third World Network, Link] The United States and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at the World Trade Organization have reached agreement ad referendum on a pharmaceutical patent exemption for a duration of 17 years, according to trade diplomats.
With this exemption, the world’s poorest nations will not be obliged “to implement or apply” or “to enforce” patents as well as test data protection for pharmaceutical products until 1 January 2033.
Abstract: In April 2014, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) listed India on its Special 301 Priority Watch List, following India’s refusal to grant a patent over the leukemia drug Gleevec and its compulsory licensing of the cancer drug Nexavar. USTR also undertook an out-of-cycle review of India’s intellectual property laws, to determine whether or not to upgrade India to the more serious Priority Foreign Country status, which would potentially trigger retaliation through withdrawal of GSP benefits.
[Cross posted from the TWN Info Service on Intellectual Property Issues, Link] As the World Trade Organization’s intellectual property body begins its session today, there is emerging consensus among the organization’s members that the poorest nations in the world, the least developed countries (LDCs), should not have to apply or enforce pharmaceutical product patents or to implement ‘mailbox’ or exclusive marketing rights for as long as they remain LDCs.
The WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) Council is meeting in Geneva on 15-16 October.
However, whether or not these vulnerable nations will clinch their desired demands very much depends on the United States, which remains opposed to LDCs’ requests.