TRIPS news

News and press releases about the TRIPS Council and TRIPS in the WTO, prepared by the Information and External Relations Division to assist public understanding of developments in the WTO.

13–18 December 2005, Hong Kong Ministerial Conference: Ministers agree on declaration that ‘puts Round back on track’
> News item > Ministerial Declaration > Ministerial main page

6 December 2005 — Members OK amendment to make health flexibility permanent
> press release

29 November 2005 — Poorest countries given more time to apply intellectual property rules
> press release

1 August 2004 — Round-the-clock meetings produce ‘historic’ breakthrough
> news item   > the July 2004 package

Decision removes final patent obstacle to cheap drug imports
WTO member governments broke their deadlock over intellectual property protection and public health today (30 August 2003). They agreed on legal changes that will make it easier for poorer countries to import cheaper generics made under compulsory licensing if they are unable to manufacture the medicines themselves.
> Press release
> Decision on implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health
> The General Council Chairperson’s statement

Supachai disappointed over governments’ failure to agree on health and development issues
Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, on 20 December 2002, expressed disappointment over the failure by WTO member governments to meet the year-end deadlines for agreement in negotiations on special and differential treatment for developing countries and access to essential medicines for poor countries lacking capacity to manufacture such drugs themselves. “Nonetheless, delegates have informed me of their commitment to continue to work to find agreement in these complex and difficult negotiations”, he said, adding that “I am hopeful a solution can be found in the early part of 2003”.
> Press release

Commission report is food for thought on intellectual property — Supachai
WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi said on 16 September 2002 that the report by the UK Commission on Intellectual Property Rights makes an important contribution to the debate on how developing countries can best make use of the WTO agreement and its flexibilities, and how the international framework might be improved.
> Dr Supachai’s speaking notes

TRIPS Council approves decisions on delaying pharmaceutical patents for LDCs
The WTO council responsible for intellectual property, on 27 June 2002, approved a decision extending until 2016 the transition period during which least-developed countries (LDCs) do not have to provide patent protection for pharmaceuticals. It also approved a waiver for LDCs on exclusive marketing rights for any new drugs in the period when they do not provide patent protection.
> Press release

Intellectual property council starts on Doha agenda items and two-phase negotiation
The WTO’s TRIPS (intellectual property) Council started work (5–7 March 2002) on a list of issues that ministers assigned to it at the Doha Ministerial Conference, and (8 March 2002) on a two-phase programme for completing negotiations on a multilateral register for geographical indications for wines and spirits
> regular meeting (5–7 March)    > special session (8 March)

Members discuss drafts for ministerial declaration on patents and health
Two drafts for a ministerial declaration on intellectual property and public health issues — now available unrestricted — were discussed in the second TRIPS Council meeting on access to medicines
> summary of discussion    > more on the meeting

WTO members to press on, following ‘rich debate’ on medicines
WTO member governments have agreed to examine in greater detail the issues raised in their first special discussion on Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines on 20 June 2001, a meeting that the chairperson, Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku of Zimbabwe described as “rich”.
> 22 June 2001 press release    > More on the meeting

Governments share interpretations on TRIPS and public health Unusually frank and detailed interpretations of the WTO’s intellectual property agreement characterized the 20 June 2001 discussion on “Intellectual Property and Access to medicines” in WTO’s TRIPS Council.
> summary of discussion    > More on the meeting

Moore: countries must feel secure that they can use TRIPS’ flexibility WTO Director-General Mike Moore says the special discussion on “Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines” should reinforce countries’ confidence in their right to use the flexibility written into the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
> statement     > More on the discussion

New WIPO-WTO initiative to help world’s poorest countries
The heads of the World Intellectual Property Organization and WTO launched, on 14 June 2001, a new initiative to help least-developed countries in intellectual property issues, including their obligation to comply with the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement by 2006.
> Press release

Hosbjor workshop papers published
Over 40 presentations made at the WTO-WHO workshop on essential drug pricing are now available, 13 June 2001
> Download the presentations    > Find out about the Hosbjor workshop

Final report of essential drug pricing workshop released. 30 May 2001. (Summary report released 15 May 2001.)
> Read news story    > Download report

WTO chief Mike Moore welcomes news of settlement of South Africa drug lawsuit. 19 April 2001.

Fact sheet on TRIPS and pharmaceuticals

WTO, WHO workshop on affordable drugs (“Differential pricing and financing of essential drugs”). The 8-11 April 2001 meeting in Norway brings together about 50 experts from industrialized and developing countries. Includes press releases, background papers, programme, participants list, etc.

“Yes, Drugs for the Poor — and Patents as Well”, WTO Director-General Mike Moore, writing in the International Herald Tribune, 22 February 2001

WTO Deputy Director-General Miguel Rodríguez Mendoza says TRIPS balances medical costs and benefits: speech on 28 September 2000

TRIPS Council 21 March 2000: debates call to expand geographical indications protection

TRIPS Council 17 February 1999: US, Japan submit proposal on geographical indications

TRIPS Council 1–2 December 1998: Discussion develops on geographical indications

21 July 1998: WTO and WIPO join forces to help developing countries meet year-2000 commitments on intellectual property

> Consult the guide to downloading files.


Note: News items have not been written for all TRIPS Council meetings. You can find details of the TRIPS Council here.