April 11, 2005 | By Ren Bucholz

Blogging WIPO's Development Agenda Meeting - Day 1

We're in Geneva at the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) first big meeting on intellectual property and the Development Agenda. The world's premiere IP-expansionists are considering the radical proposal that more rightsholder protections aren't always in the best interests of developing nations. Several copyfighters have been taking collaborative notes all day inside the cavernous main hall, and you can check out the transcript after the jump.

[Also see Pedro de Parangua Moniz's notes from today!]

11 April, 2005

Notes by:

Thiru Balasubramaniam, thiru [at] cptech.org, Consumer Project on Technology

Gwen Hinze, gwen [at] eff.org, Electronic Frontier Foundation [GH]

Ren Bucholz, ren [at] eff.org, Electronic Frontier Foundation [RB]

[NOTE: This is not an official transcript. Any errors or ommissions are regretted.]

Copyright-Only Dedication (based on United States law)

The person or persons who have associated their work with this document (the "Dedicator") hereby dedicate the entire copyright in the work of authorship identified below (the "Work") to the public domain.

Dedicator makes this dedication for the benefit of the public at large and to the detriment of Dedicator's heirs and successors. Dedicator intends this dedication to be an overt act of relinquishment in perpetuity of all present and future rights under copyright law, whether vested or contingent, in the Work. Dedicator understands that such relinquishment of all rights includes the relinquishment of all rights to enforce (by lawsuit or otherwise) those copyrights in the Work.

Dedicator recognizes that, once placed in the public domain, the Work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and in any way, including by methods that have not yet been invented or conceived.

[RB: This is the administrative portion, where leadership for the meeting is formed]

Geoffrey Yu (WIPO): Proceed to Agenda Item two; nomination of officers.

Jamaica: On behalf of GRULAC-we would like to nominate the Ambassador of Paraguay.

Czech Republic: Second, and also nominate Bulgaria as vice-chair.

China: We would like to support the nomination by the delegation of Jamaica for Paraguay and Bulgaria is vice-chair.

Geoffrey Yu (WIPO): Permanent representative (PR) of Paraguay is chair; PR of Bulgaria is vice-chair.

Paraguay (Chair): Efficiency starts off with brevity. Move to item 3: adoption of agenda.

Jamaica (GRULAC): We would like to add an agenda item on a substantive report and an item on the inclusion of NGOs.


Chair: There is agreement among regional coordinators on having a substantive report. There's also agreement among regional coordinators on the accreditation of 17 NGOs at the first IIM.

[RB: Wow! This is great news - WIPO had initially indicated that groups that aren't accredited wouldn't be able to participate. As a result, EFF & other groups extended their delegation to include organizations that have expertise in the developing world but had not yet received accreditation.]

Jamaica: With that clarification we do not need an amendment.

India: The preparation of this document should be done before the end of this session; then the delegations can comment to formalize final document.

Chair: The report that I will prepare will discuss future work. The factual report that the IB will prepare will be transmitted to delegations. I will prepare a seperate report on future work.

Argentina: We're not clear about the distinction between factual reports and substantive reports? We agree that the chairman's statement's report should not be binding; but "future work" report should be done with Member States. C's report should be factual in nature.

Jamaica: This is an issue important with GRULAC. Important that the substantive report on IIM report be adopted. If not enough time, on Wednesday it could be adopted at next IIM, But a factual report must be produced.

Brazil: We would like to speak in the same line as the rep from GRULAC and Argentina. We would like to follow usual UIPO procedure that IIM conclude with a draft report. We read item 6 as "summary by chair" not report, but it has no legal status. Item on future work is a substantive isssue to be dealt with by countries. We want inclusion of draft report. If there is a time constraint for adoption we would sonsider a preliminary draft.

Chair: International Bureau secretariat will prepare factual report. The report that I prepare will be the reflection of consultations with delegations; it will deal with future work (item 5). Is this acceptable?

India: We are somewhat at a loss to grapple the nuance of your most recent statement with respect to your previous statement given the interventions of several delegations. (TB: What's the difference?). For example, adoption of WIPO report from last General Assembly meeting still has to be adopted by Member States at the next Assembly because it was reworked to add interventions of delegates and took several months to appear on WIPO's website. However, it would be useful to put a detailed summary before delegates to allow them to review it. That should be done quickly when issues are still fresh in delegates' minds.

China: We are willing to support work of the Chairman.

Argentina: Probably don't need chair's summary; it can be reflected in the report. We could include it in the agenda.

Brazil: I would like to include an adoption of draft report. Let us stick with usual practice.

Chair: Add new item 7 - adoption of draft report.

Italy (on behalf of Group B): Welcome decision on ad-hoc accreditation of NGOs; but on the understanding that this should not be a precedent and we will encourage them to apply for permanent acccreditation.

Legal Counsel (Edward Kwakwa): Named 17 names of NGOs who applied for and have now been granted ad-hoc accreditation for the first IIM.

Item 4 - Substantive Proposals

Chair: Listed four proposals

Brazil (Group of Friends of Development - FOD): Highlight that this document is supported by 14 Member States. Recall WIPO General Assembly proposal. Development Agenda concerning IP issues.

New document is not a subsitute for previous document but complementary. It is lengthy. Not exhaustive document. Further develops 4 aspects of our proposals from last year. All of the 14 countries have reserved the right to further elaborate on different aspects.

It is both conceptual and pragmatic. It contains conceptual elaborations -- development concerns broaden IP system -- broaden and strengthen WIPO's role, giving WIPO a more development-oriented focus. Issues in this document affect Southern constitutencies, academics, NGOs. This document is a platform for substantive debate on WIPO. This is why we welcome ad hoc accreditation of NGOs. Document also contains concrete proposals -- we welcome constructive engagement from other WIPO Member States.

FOD -- relationship between development and intellectual property. How is development affected by enforcement and implementation of IP agreements? We could work on a consensual outcome that we could forward to the General Assembly. We resist attempts to fragmentize the components.

Central element; broad perspective on relationship between IP and development. We seek to keep this proposal before the IIM. It is important that this proposal be treated holistically; it's not appropriate to separate out aspects of it, but we have broken it into sections to allow for discussion of the 4 elements.

1) Mandate and Governance: we support a more "UN" agency type role for WIPO. We support openness and transparency -- all voices should be heard at WIPO, including IGOs and NGOs.

2) Norm-setting: Development oriented benchmarks. Norm-setting should not be separated from development.

3) Technical Assistance

4) Technology Transfer

We want this item to be permanently on the agenda at WIPO; we want this to be cross-cutting-development should not be subordinated to a subsidiary body.

Argentina (FOD): Second part refers to revision of WIPO's mandate and governance. FOD believes WIPO's mandate can be clarified through an amendment of a development dimension as part of WIPO's mission. Lack of leadership on part of WIPO's member states on where DD should included. FOD believes that DD should be incorporated into WIPO's programmes and activities.

1) Create WERO (independent office), an independent and transparent mechanism to evaluate programmes. Similar programmes exist in the World Bank and other agencies. Adopt measures to include NGOs-PAC and IPAC should be determined by Member States.

2) Norm-setting: RE norms on intellectual creativity and technological transfer,
WIPO should pursue more balanced approach. Develop norms that reflect development dimensions in all work.

This should be guided by guidelines: Tech assistance should be based on development provision-level of development of each recipient state. Make full use of flexibilites. Remedy anti-competitive practices.

3) Technical assistance should be neutral and non-discriminatory.

Tech assistance should be reviewed independently

Next GA should adopt principles we've listed in our proposal, should establish database for website listing all tech assistance

Seperate norm-setting from tech assistance.

Commence work on indicators and benchmarks for evaluation.

4) Technology transfer

See paragraphs 87, 88 and 97 of our proposal for principles for tech transfer and dissemination.

Chair: Other delegates should look at the FOD proposal and comment on it. We had a belated start, so no coffee.

USA: Paul Salmon (USPTO): US welcomes full transparency of WIPO proceedings. Support ad-hoc accreditation for 17 NGOs but encourage NGOs to apply for permanent observer status. Simple procedure outlined on WIPO's website. Outlined requirements -- including must identify how NGOs can establish that they speak for their members.

IP protection plays an important and positive role in development. IP is only part of the solution. More needs to be done but not the domain of WIPO. WIPO should focus on IP -- UN does not need any new development agencies. WIPO's current legal structures -- including the standing committees -- provide ample room to tackle development issues.

There is much support from WIPO for developed and developing countries. We would not want to change WIPO if it risked their support.

We agree that IP is an important means of development. US paper is not a rebuttal of FOD; it's not just about technical assistance. We have no agenda to diminish WIPO's tech assistance. Our partnerhsip proposal will allow WIPO to partner with developing countries and developed countries and NGOs to create synergies.

There is a need for better co-ordination of development resources. WIPO tech assistance should be more relevant and meaningful to the needs of DCs and LDCs.

Mexico: IP is a tool for economic development. We recognize the work already being done by other agencies but it is necessary to supplement for promoting IP. Lack of knowledge of the IP system has sometimes generated tensions in developing countries. Our proposal seeks to have WIPO disseminate information on IP system but we don't support the creation of new bodies for development. That won't achieve the goal of streamlining WIPO's activities.

UK: We welcome the spectrum and breadth of attendees at this important meeting. The starting point for our proposal is that IP is a tool that allows economic and technical development. The UK in 2001 took the intiative of establishing the IPR Commission to investigate how IP can be integrated with development because we believe that IP can lead to sustainable economic and technical development.

Co-operation must be transparent and planned. We welcome the US and Mexico proposals on these points. It must also be accountable - we have read the FOD proposal and agree that it one model but not the only one. We should not create other bodies but use member government's knowledge of IP to facilitate tech transfer. We see technical assistance in a broad sense. Technical Assistance should be demand driven and transparence. Harmonization is not necessarily the enemy of development if it takes account of differences in levels of development. Cornerstone of UN/WIPO agreement is tech transfer.

Chair: Opening floor to regional coordinators.

Singapore (Asian Group): Supports FOD proposal; good basis for constructive dialogue for IIM. Mainstreaming development dimension into all WIPO's work is imperative, consistent with other UN bodies -- IP is not an end in itself. One size fits all approach not appropriate. Public policy consideration -- policy space respect -- especially when developing countries have obligations. WIPO tech assistance needs to consider costs of IP not just benefits. Asian Group stands behind a balanced IP -- stimulate creativity, innovation, and research.

And in his role as Co-ordinator of ASEAN countries: We work together with WIPO -- we established the WIPO/ASEAN Ambassadors annual dialogue in 1993. We recognize and appreciate WIPO's work on development -- dialogue, business/ IP cooperation, national workshops aimed at capacity-building, thematic resource work. IP for development remains an important objective of the Director General's vision. ASEAN looks forward to step up cooperation with WIPO.

Italy (Group B) Happy to see so many NGOs seeking participation. Important to remember that IP can serve as economic driver. UN Millennium Declaration has been part of WIPO's mission since inception. Must look espectially at needs of developing countries. Time for urgent stock-taking of WIPO's technical assistance -- is it appropriate for recipient countries? Need more research into country-specific IP work. Could WIPO work with other organizations? Group B agreed in 2004 that it would work with others. Adquately protecting IP is necessary to turn ideas into useful work.

Jamaica (GRULAC): Congratulations on your elections. IP system is an imporant part of National Economic Development. However, WIPO must address concerns of developing countries at all levels. Mandates that start with the increase of IP must take into account LDC needs. Doha Dev Agenda, Sao Paolo Consensus, Monterey Consensus, Johannesburg Consensus. DA is not just about technical assistance. Also norm-setting. Recognizes steps taken by WIPO. Benefit of Extra-budgetary resources but results sometimes can be unreliable and unstainable (tech assistance).

Chair: Countries that wish to speak-Morocco, Czech Republic, China, Pakistan, S. Africa, Boliva, Switzerland, Egypt, Iran, Niger, Nigeria


Afternoon issues

Chair: to move things forward, we'll be talking to regional coordinators.

Brazil: we are concerned about this. Our proposal has 14 country sponsors. We don't believe it's possible to discuss substantive issues with RCs.

Chair: clarification -- will only be discussing procedural issues.

India: We are behind on substantive matters; regional coordinators have limited mandates. Given shortage of time; it might not be efficacious to set aside time to meet from this session. We would not advise to set aside time; Member States do not delegate authority to regional coordinators on substantive issues.

Morocco (African Group): We support in principle the proposal for establishment of Development Agenda. It is ambitious agenda. IP should not be considered an end in itself. Need to take account of different levels of development, balance general public rights and rightsholders. Facilitation of tech transfer and capacity bldg. Assessment of costs of implementation. It is incumbent on WIPO to assist in tech transfer (Arti 7-8) -- and in accordance with WIPO-UN agreement.

We welcome the US proposal: reinforce tech cooperation activities of WIPO. It assumes infracstructural access to the Internet, but the digital divide exists. Not all the countries have access. WIPO has shown commitment (WIPONET).

Welcome Munich Group B comminique-para 3

Czech Republic (Central European and Baltic States): Thanks to Int Bureaus for organizing mtgs. Want to underline importance of strengthening IP for development for members of group. Appreciate assistance of WIPO in development-related activities. Providing tech assistance and training, institutional capacity bldg, but there is room for improvement. Should have high level of transparency, and include full range of participants. WIPO activities should meet concerns of developing countries and meet needs of LDCs. IP is important tool for development so long as takes account of different levels of development.

China: Devlt is daunting challenge in the new millennium. Given that WIPO is a UN agency, it has the obligation to consider the impact of IP on development. WIPO shouldn't concentrate only on tech assistance. In identifying priorities and in norm-setting, WIPO should take account of development. Norm-setting should take account of real capacity for member states; must be realistic, otherwise IP by itself insufficient for development. China hopes that secretariat will provide member states with highly transparent information as well as time to consider it, to promote discussion and dialogue.

Benin (Representing LDC's):
We would like development to be incorporated into all programmes of WIPO. TRIPS negotiations; IP should be made into a development tool.

Luxembourg (EU):
EU looks forward to take part in this debate. EU has always said IP is not an end in itself. IP can help achieve the UN Millennium development goals. Many factors play here environmental, social, economic development. WIPO promotes IP in balanced fashion -- this system of IP cannot secure the development goals.

Developing countries play greater role at WIPO. EU would like to make some observations. Part 5 tech transfer -- these agreements must stimulate exchange of knowledge: "efficient tech transfer."

On Part 6 (of GFoD?): Implementation of IP rights-must contribute economic, social, and cultural benefit. Want to "encourage national culture of IP."

Part 7: EU convived that strategic cooperation must be targeted. More must be done in technical assistance. Technical assistance should be appropriate to level of development and specific needs of countries. Also, they fully embrace UK proposal.

WIPO has given assistance and Nigeria has benefited. Associates itself with GFoD proposal.

South Africa:
Wishes to associate itself fully with Brazil & Argentina proposal [RB: the Global Friends of Development proposal]

The development dimension must be incorporated into WIPO, and it must be reflected in future treaties. Like many other international agencies it needs to be guided by the broader development agenda of the United Nations.

South Africa believes that IP has an important role to play and WIPO has a signifcant role to play in ensuring that IP rules support development. Our experience is that North-South activites have proceed, but there is a lack of understanding of implications. The GFoD proposal calls for an independent evidence-based impact assesment. Techincal assistance can't be equated with development. The GFoD proposal explains our key points.

We won't support *any* formulation that views technical support as the only method of development.

[RB: meaning that they also want to see technology transfer (moving help, governance (reforming WIPO as an institution), norm-setting (respecting locally appropriate policies)]

Associates with statement by GRULAC - looking for proper balance between interests of developed & developing nations

Supports push for NGOs to participate in this proceeding, and believe that it will enrich the dialogue

Congratulations on your elections. We give full support to the statement given by Italy on behalf of Group B.

We have an opportunity today to have a discussions on the basis of 4 specific proposals on the role of IP on development. More than ever before, my delegation is convinced that IP has a central role to play in economic, social, and cultural development.

However, IP alone cannot provide entirety of the development of a country and an end to poverty. To achieve this, each country must undertake joint action.

Believes in: Dev. of human resources, rule of law, stable economic policies, application of rules that support competition.

All the activities undertaken by WIPO on "development" are fully in line with UN goals and within the specific terms of WIPO's mandate as a specialized UN agency. We are surprised therefore to read that WIPO must establish a development agenda; it already exists.

Believes that WIPO should simply work with other groups that already exist to refine their current trajectory -- wants a "pragmatic" approach that examines outcomes.

Delegation wants to examine these proposals in further detail to understand the financial obligations these proposals may entail. We look forward to play a constructive and active role in these deliberations.

Dominican Republic:
We would like to voice support the Group of Friends Of Development (GFOD) proposal.

Discussion of 4 aspects in GFoD proposal - Dominican thinks this is a very innovative and creative proposal. Would like to highlight principles on technical cooperation. We support the proposal to separate the international secretariat from WIPO's role in norm-setting.

Proposes the creation of a new body with members from other UN organizations. Will conduct evaluation and research on IP as tool of development.

One of the central purposes of gov't is to enhance individuals' ability to actualize through access to knowledge. We need greater emphasis on: flexibility & strengthening of agencies to review effects of policies that expand rights.

1. Establish permanent space for discussion of IPR - not just accepting & expanding it
2. [RB: missed this one]
3. Form strategy for working with other agencies at the U.N.

On US proposal, Chile expresses gratitude and agrees that it tackles only one aspect of development. However, and contrary to what the doc said, inefficient use of UN resources is likely to occur.

On Mexican proposal - grateful, but believe that there should be broader mandate
- not just protection, but also exceptions & limitations, etc.
- shouldn't think that more IP is better for development

On UK - thanks, and believes that this is the kind of proposal & spirit that they need.

Shares the view that IP is important; in both DCs & LDCs effective, balanced & flexible IP is important.

WIPO's primary function is to provide IP expertise within the context of the UN.

WIPO should reflect needs of all members, & note a positive response from LDCs - In particular, must approach this in comparative & balanced manner.

Since resources are finite, should consider prioritizing concerns - pragmatic proposals with outcomes should come first.

Congratulations on your election and that of the vice-chair. We associate ourself with the statement of Singapore on behalf of the Asian group. We also note the four proposals submitted (that's UK, US, Mexico, GFoD).

The core issue at the heart of this debate is to ensure that IP system effective policy space appropriate to their own level of development. In particular flexibility -- they should not be rendered inoperable by multiple caveats.

Other issues raised are not important -- for instance, discussing WIPO's mandate is only important if it blocks discussion of "substantive" issues (RB: discussing WIPO mandate would be a "sterile excercise" !?)

US suggestions should be seriously considered. Policy space should not be considered in an abstract manner.

Three clusters of concerns:

1) Impact of IP on prices of medicines, textbooks, educational software, and other essential goods
- sometimes priced out of the reach of the people
2) constraining effects of IP on technology - broad patents, length of protection, pools, skewed licenses, lack of disclosure
3) misappropriation of TK - need prior consent, benefit sharing, etc.

Academic proposal on impact statements deserves much attention.

Norm-setting should be conducted in an equitable manner. Shouldn't rely on islolated enclaves to set policies that affect the group... Other bodies moving away from that model.

We should have further sessions of IIM to discuss these issues substantively.

Congratulations to chair and vice-president. Egypt firmly believes that development in all its forms is the only way to raise standards of living for our people. IP is a component; it is not an exception from this path. If we don't deal with IP from a development point of view including a development dimension, standards of economic development, it will lack one of its main targets. Egypt was one of the authors of the GFOD proposal.

Let me affirm two basic topics (priority for Egypt)

1) The need to not have a narrow point of view of development in IP. It is important that all parties concerned understand that the question of promoting IP development aspect...it is not limited to quantitative and qualitative aspect of technical assistance.

2) The instruments that WIPO offers should incorporate IP but should not be exceptions to development. Some of these treaties impose constraints on developing countries. The development dimension should be put on the core of all standards that WIPO creates. This cannot take place unless we take into consideration elements which are noted in the proposals contained in the FOD paper.

Hope that GFoD & other doc are deeply discussed to allow "continued credibility of the WIPO process.

~End Day One~

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