am very pleased to have been asked to participate in this event to
launch the report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights
established by my good friend and colleague Clare Short (UK Secretary
of State for International Development). I have, for
some time, taken an interest in the work of the Commission and had the
honour of speaking at the major conference which the Commission held
in London in February of this year.
Commission has been asked to tackle a difficult subject. It is
difficult at the national level to establish in the field of
intellectual property a proper balance conducive to public welfare and
development and even more difficult at the multilateral level. I am
not one of those who thinks that intellectual property protection is a
zero-sum game, but it would be foolish not to recognize that any set
of rules that establishes a multilateral rule of law in this area will
involve finding a balance which takes account of all legitimate
interests involved. Of course, the Commission has been tasked with
looking at this question from the angle of development policy and
this, as you know, is also very much the focus of the WTO in the light
of the Doha Development Agenda.
have had a very brief opportunity to look at the report and, viewed
from a WTO and TRIPS (trade-related aspects of intellectual property
rights) angle, it certainly seems to make an important contribution to
the ongoing debate on two issues:
is the question of how the TRIPS Agreement, and in particular the
flexibility and options available in it, can be best applied by
developing countries in the light of their own development needs.
As you know, this has been a particularly important issue in the
context of access to medicines, where it led to the adoption at
Doha of the Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health,
but it is of course a broader issue.
second ongoing debate is that on how the TRIPS Agreement in
particular and the international framework in the area of
intellectual property more generally can be improved, especially
in the light of the development dimension.
TRIPS Agreement, like other WTO agreements, is a living instrument,
capable of evolution and adaptation in the light of the needs and
priorities of Members. In fact, the WTO has an ambitious and active
work programme in this area. This is based, in part on the built-in
agenda under the TRIPS Agreement itself, in part on requirements in
the Doha Declaration to address or act upon implementation issues
raised in the TRIPS area and in part on other decisions in the Doha
Declaration establishing negotiations or other work on TRIPS matters.
me just mention three of these areas which are particularly active at
problem identified in paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the
TRIPS Agreement and Public Health of how WTO Members with limited
manufacturing capacity in the pharmaceutical sector can make
effective use of compulsory licensing. The TRIPS Council has to
find a solution and report to the General Council before the end
of this year.
nexus of issues relating to the protection of biotechnological
inventions, biodiversity and traditional knowledge and folklore.
These cover matters on which the TRIPS Council has to report to
the TNC (Trade Negotiations Committee) by the end of this year.
protection of geographical indications. This includes, in
particular, the negotiation of a notification and registration
system for geographical indications for wines and spirits by the
next Ministerial Conference and the work on issues related to the
extension of the protection provided for in Article 23 to products
other than wines and spirits, on which the TRIPS Council has to
again report to the TNC by the end of this year.
report, quite rightly, sets the issue of integrating intellectual
property rights and development policy in its full context which goes
far beyond WTO matters, but let me just mention two other important
areas of WTO work on which the report contains interesting analysis
and ideas. One is that in the new Working Group on Trade and Transfer
of Technology. The other is the role that an effective competition
policy and law can play in balancing and complementing intellectual
property regimes. The WTO Working Group on the Interaction between
Trade and Competition Policy provides a forum in which this question
can be further explored.
concluding, let me mention one other point which is also addressed in
the report, namely the importance of developing the internal capacity
within developing countries to be able to provide training and
undertake research in the area of intellectual property. This is
something to which I attach considerable importance in this area of
the WTO, as in others. In this regard, I hope that the WTO, perhaps in
cooperation with other intergovernmental organizations, will be able
to organize, annually, a briefing session for university teachers from
developing countries in the area of intellectual property so as to
help them to be as well informed as possible about international
issues facing their countries.
me conclude by expressing my appreciation to Professor Barton and the
other Commissioners for the report that has been presented today and
for their having come to Geneva to launch it.
report can be downloaded from the website of the CIPR
in new window).
also, on the WTO website:
> The Doha
D-G Supachai and Clare Short, UK Secretary of State for International Development
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