DS: Australia — Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks, Geographical Indications and Other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging
This summary has been prepared by the Secretariat under its own responsibility. The summary is for general information only and is not intended to affect the rights and obligations of Members.
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(as cited in request for consultations)
|Request for Consultations received:|
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Summary of the dispute to date
The summary below was up-to-date at
On 18 July 2012, the Dominican Republic requested consultations with Australia concerning certain Australian laws and regulations that allegedly impose trademark restrictions and other plain-packaging requirements on tobacco products.
The Dominican Republic challenges the following measures:
- Australia's Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011, and its implementing regulations, as amended by the Tobacco Plain Packaging Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1);
- the Trade Marks Amendment (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Act 2011; and
- any related measures adopted by Australia, including measures that implement, complement or add to these laws and regulations, as well as any measures that amend or replace these laws and regulations.
The Dominican Republic claims that Australia's measures appear to be inconsistent with Australia's obligations under:
- Articles 2.1, 3.1, 15.4, 16.1, 20, 22.2(b) and 24.3 of the TRIPS Agreement;
- Articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the TBT Agreement; and
- Article III:4 of the GATT 1994.
On 23 July 2012, New Zealand and Uruguay requested to join the consultations. On 25 July 2012, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Norway requested to join the consultations. On 26 July 2012, Honduras requested to join the consultations. On 27 July 2012, Brazil, El Salvador, the European Union and Ukraine requested to join the consultations. On 30 July 2012, South Africa requested to join the consultations. On 2 August 2012, Canada requested to join the consultations. Subsequently, Australia informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, the European Union, Guatemala, Honduras, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, South Africa, Ukraine and Uruguay to join the consultations.
On 9 November 2012, the Dominican Republic requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 17 December 2012, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.
Panel and Appellate Body proceedings
At its meeting on 25 April 2014, the DSB established a panel. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, the European Union, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States, Uruguay and Zimbabwe reserved their third-party rights. Subsequently, Ecuador, Indonesia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Peru reserved their third-party rights.
On 25 April 2014, Australia requested the Director-General to compose the panel. On 5 May 2014, the Director-General composed the panel. On 10 October 2014, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that the panel expected to issue its final report to the parties not before the first half of 2016, in accordance with the timetable adopted by the panel on 17 June 2014 on the basis of a draft timetable proposed by the parties. On 29 June 2016, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that due to the complexity of the dispute, the panel expected to issue its final report to the parties not before the end of 2016. On 1 December 2016, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that in light of the complexity of the legal and factual issues that arise in this dispute, the panel expected to issue its final report to the parties not before May 2017.
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