June 13, 2007 | By Gwen Hinze

Blogging the WIPO Development Agenda: [Access to Knowledge]?

Discussions on streamlining ? or what some delegates are describing as ?downsizing? ? the set of 71 proposals into a shorter ?actionable? list are proceeding fairly expeditiously. The Chair, the Ambassador of Barbados, Trevor Clarke, is running this week?s meeting in much the same way he ran the last PCDA meeting in February. The 71 proposals are listed in Annex B to a report prepared by the Chair of the 2006 WIPO General Assembly, (the Manalo report) (see here and here), and are grouped into 6 clusters. Prior to this week?s meeting, the Chair assigned each Regional Group of countries the task of synthesizing a particular cluster of proposals.

The Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries is in charge of Cluster A: Technical Assistance (WIPO?s practice of advising member countries about how to set up their IP system) and Capacity Building; the African Group has Cluster B: Norm-Setting, Flexibilities, Public Policy and the Public Domain; the Asian Group and China have Cluster C: Technology Transfer, Information and Communication Technology and Access to Knowledge; the Central European and Baltic States has Cluster D: Assessments, Evaluation and Impact Studies; the Group B countries have Cluster E: Institutional Matters, Mandate and Governance; and the Group of Caucasian, Central Asian and European countries has Cluster F, which covers other issues such as establishment of a working group to further discussions and a Development Agenda Work Plan and adoption of a high-level declaration on intellectual property and development.

Each of these groups has prepared their draft streamlined version of their Cluster?s proposals and circulated it as non-papers to other groups at a preparation meeting in Singapore on May 30 ? June 1, 2007. Daily negotiations on these drafts are taking place between Regional Group coordinators and countries that have put forward proposals. Negotiations are taking place in ?informal? (non-public) meetings in an upstairs room at WIPO, which seats just 31 people, Then, once or sometimes twice a day, the Regional Coordinators deliver progress reports in short plenary sessions, which are formally recorded.

As a result, there has been no substantive debate on any contentious issue in the public sessions, but the divergence of views is discernible from the daily stream of deletions and additions.

The Chair?s goal is to have an agreed and streamlined set of proposals for all 6 clusters to present to the WIPO General Assembly by the end of this week. At the end of day three, here?s the stay of play: negotiations on Cluster A have been completed (but nothing is agreed until it is agreed at the end of this week), Cluster B is still under negotiation tonight, and Cluster C is on the agenda for tomorrow.

Here?s the current text for Clusters A and B of Annex B, and following that, our notes of the plenary sessions in days one to three.

ANNEX B, CLUSTER A: TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND CAPACITY BUILDING

DRAFT AGREED PROPOSALS

[As at the end of plenary session on 12 June 2007]

1. To assist Member States to develop and improve national IP institutional capacity through further development of infrastructure and other facilities with a view to making national IP institutions more efficient and promote fair balance between IP protection and the public interest. This technical assistance should also be extended to sub-regional and regional organizations dealing with IP.

2. To assist Member States to strengthen national capacity for protection of domestic creations, innovations and inventions and to support development of national scientific and technological infrastructure, where appropriate, in accordance with WIPO?s mandate.

3. To further mainstream development considerations into WIPO?s substantive and technical assistance activities and debates, in accordance with its mandate.

4. WIPO?s legislative assistance shall be, inter alia, development-oriented and demand-driven, taking into account the priorities and the special needs of developing countries, especially LDCs, as well as the different levels of development of Member States and activities should include timeframes for completion.

5. Within the framework of the agreement between WIPO and the WTO, WIPO shall make available advice to developing countries and LDCs, on the implementation and operation of the rights and obligations, and the understanding and use of flexibilities contained in the TRIPS Agreement.

NOTE: The version of this document distributed on the morning of 12 June included the following proposal five, based in part on proposal 17 in Cluster B of Chairman Manalo?s table:

5. [To request WIPO to examine flexibilities under the TRIPS Agreement with a view to giving practical advice to developing and least developed countries on how to enable them to gain access to essential medicines and food, which includes, inter alia, Articles 7, 8, 30, 31 and 40, in addition to subsequent pro-development initiatives, such as the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.]

ANNEX B, CLUSTER B: NORM-SETTING, FLEXIBILITIES. PUBLIC POLICY AND PUBLIC DOMAIN

DRAFT AGREED PROPOSALS

June 13, 13:30h

1. [In its activities, including norm-setting, WIPO should take into account the flexibilities in international IP agreements, especially those which are of interest to developing countries and LDCs.]

2. To urge the IGC to accelerate the process on the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, without prejudice to any outcome, including the possible development of an international instrument or instruments.

3. To discuss possible new initiatives and strengthen existing mechanisms within WIPO to facilitate [access to knowledge] and technology for developing countries and LDCs and to foster creativity and innovation within WIPO?s mandate.

4. To promote norm-setting activities related to IP that support a robust public domain in WIPO?s Member States, including the possibility of preparing guidelines which could assist interested Member States in identifying subject matters that have fallen into the public domain within their respective jurisdictions.

5. WIPO shall conduct informal, open and balanced consultations, as appropriate, prior to any new norm-setting activities, through a member-driven process, promoting the participation of experts from Member States, particularly developing countries and LDCs.

6. WIPO?s norm-setting activities should be supportive of all [internationally agreed] development goals [,] [agreed] within the UN system, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration.

[The Secretariat should address in its [working documents for norm-setting activities] [background] documents, as appropriate and as directed by Member Sates, issues such as: a) [potential implementation issues] [safeguarding national implementation of intellectual property rules] [b) mechanisms to prevent anti-competitive practices c) promotion of transfer of technology) d) potential flexibilities, exceptions and limitations for Member States and e) the possibility of additional special provisions for developing countries and LDCs without prejudice to the outcome of Member States considerations

7. To consider how to better promote [creative] pro-competitive IP licensing practices, [including emerging licensing options,] particularly with a view to fostering creativity, innovation and the transfer and dissemination of technology to interested countries, in particular developing countries and LDCs.

8. [Best Practices for Economic Growth: Compile and disseminate the ?best practices? of Member States related to fostering the development of creative industries and attracting foreign investment and technologies based, at least in part, on the baseline national surveys for economic growth, which are discussed more fully below under cluster D]

9. [Increasing understanding of the adverse effect of counterfeiting and piracy on economic development: Through the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE), conduct analyses of the relationship between high rates of counterfeiting and intellectual property piracy and technology transfer, foreign direct investment and economic growth]

10. [To exchange experiences on open collaborative projects for the development of public goods such as the Human Genome Project and Open Source Software (Manalo 38).]

11. [To safeguard in WIPO the development-oriented principles and flexibilities contained in existing agreements, such as the TRIPS Agreement (Manalo 37).]


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