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New Intellectual Property Talks Chair to Consult on Future Steps

26-Mar-2012 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 8161
GENEVA - The newly-elected chairperson of the negotiations on a multilateral register for geographical indications for wines and spirits told delegations on March 23, 2012 he will consult them on how to proceed under new instructions from World Trade Organization (WTO) ministers. 

According to the organization, Ambassador Yonov Frederick Agah of Nigeria was elected at the start of the 15-minute meeting. Chairs of Doha Round negotiating groups are normally elected from one ministerial conference to the next. 

This was the first meeting of the negotiating group after the Geneva Ministerial Conference in December 2011, when WTO ministers acknowledged that the Doha Development Agenda talks are at an impasse and called for a change of approach. 

“I […] intend to initiate, in the coming weeks, a process of informal consultations with the delegations, both individually and in groups, in order to determine how best we may operationalize those elements of the outcome of [the Ministerial Conference] that relate to our work,” he said. 

He added that he will report back to the membership when the consultations are completed.

Chile (for the “Joint Proposal Group”) and the EU said they or the groups they represent are prepared to work with the chairperson to find a way forward, under what they each interpret as the mandate to set up a register that would “facilitate” the protection of geographical indications. 

However the Joint Proposal Group said it would not be prepared to discuss work outside the mandate. It repeated its long held view on this, for example that the system must apply only to wines and spirits, be voluntary, create no new legal obligations, respect “territoriality” (not involving one country’s legal system imposing on another’s) and be simple and transparent to use. 

The first four months of 2011 saw intensive negotiations, which produced the first single draft text based on the various proposals on the table. 

The official name of the negotiating group is “Special Sessions” of the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property) Council, which consists of all WTO members. As with all Doha Round (or Doha Development Agenda) negotiations, these sessions report to the Trade Negotiations committee.
Negotiations on the proposed multilateral register for wines and spirits began in 1997, under Art.23.4 of the WTO intellectual property agreement (TRIPS) and were added to the Doha Round when it was launched in 2001. 

These negotiations focus on creating a multilateral register for wines and spirits and not about “GI extension” — extending to all products the higher level of protection currently given to wines and spirits — which is discussed in special meetings under Director-General Pascal Lamy.

Consultations on next steps and a report back to the full membership. No dates set.

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