Prospects Dim For TRIPS Issues At WTO Ministerial, October Deadline Possible
Intellectual Property Review – 27 July 2008

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The prospect for an agreement to negotiate on three intellectual property issues at the World Trade Organization have dimmed considerably, with no further meetings with delegations likely on Sunday, according to officials. A possible proposal is circulating to move the deadline on IP issues to October. There is no possibility of a substantial agreement,” said a dejected proponent. “It was kind of dropped this week.” Some 110 WTO members demanded at the outset of the week that three IP issues be considered together in the WTO ministerial that started formally on 21 July. This issues include a proposed amendment to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) that would bring it in line with obligations under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adding a requirement for disclosure of origin in patent applications and possibly ensuring benefit-sharing with communities to deter biopiracy (“CBD amendment”). But a group of less than 20 members held firmly to the position that the CBD amendment and one other of the issues have no mandate for negotiation – and they refused to give them one. Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has not been able to bring the two sides on IP at the WTO closer together, despite consistent and intensive consultations on the IP issues all week. Read the article…