Nagoya gives new context to old views in intellectual property council
WTO release, 1 March 2011

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Old positions remained largely unchanged on Article 27.3(b), biodiversity and traditional knowledge at the 1 March meeting of the WTO Council on Trade-related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Council), but in a new context – the CBD Nagoya Protocol on ABS. Some delegations welcomed the recently resumed consultations on this subject, chaired by WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy. While several members repeated their call for a future briefing by the CBD, there was no consensus on whether the CBD Secretariat should be invited to brief the TRIPS Council on the Nagoya Protocol, as was also the case on whether the CBD should be an observer in the council. Japan, as host country, made a brief presentation on the Protocol. The countries supporting “disclosure” said an amendment of the TRIPS Agreement is still needed because the Nagoya Protocol and the CBD do not make disclosure mandatory and not all WTO members have signed the CBD. Others continue to oppose this, saying that the TRIPS Agreement should not be used as a tool to enforce the Nagoya Protocol. They continued to argue that misappropriation of resources and bad patenting (“biopiracy”) are best tackled through databases, contracts and other means. At the meeting, Bolivia presented more detailed paper on its proposal to amend the TRIPS Agreement so that patenting of all life forms is banned, arguing that patenting life forms is immoral, violates the beliefs and values that indigenous people hold sacred, overturns farmers’ traditional rights to seeds, concentrates the domination of a handful of multinational corporations, jeopardizes food security and undermines humankind’s ability to respond to climate change. Read the release …