So far, the moratorium has been extended from one Ministerial
Conference to the next and once again it will be extended until the
next conference, which ministers are expected to decide to hold in
What does it mean?
The moratorium means that members agree not to bring “non-violation”
cases to the WTO dispute settlement process.
“Non-violation” is shorthand for the arcane question of whether there
can be legal grounds for complaint under TRIPS even when the TRIPS
Agreement has not been violated. The issue is explained in greater
Some members had linked extending this moratorium to extending one on
electronic commerce, which is discussed primarily in the General
Council. Both are now expected to be extended.
The e-commerce moratorium means that members will not charge import
duties on electronic transmissions. The text that is being sent to
ministers also includes reviews and reports in July and December 2010
and July 2011, in response to some members' call for more work to be
done on the subject. It was discussed in special meetings chaired by
Deputy Director-General Harsha Vardhana Singh on behalf of
Council chairperson Mario Matus.
The draft decision
The TRIPS text prepared for ministers says:
“We take note of the work done by the Council for Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights pursuant to
paragraph 11.1 of
the Doha Decision on Implementation-Related Issues and Concerns and
paragraph 45 of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, and direct it
to continue its examination of the scope and modalities for complaints
of the types provided for under subparagraphs 1(b) and 1(c) of Article
XXIII of GATT 1994 and make recommendations to our next Session, which
we have decided to hold in 2011. It is agreed that, in the meantime,
Members will not initiate such complaints under the TRIPS Agreement.”
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