Monday, December 12, 2005

WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference starts tomorrow

The IP summit of the year is about to start. The highest decision-making body of the WTO is meeting tomorrow in Hong Kong to talk about free trade and intellectual property. There will be a TRIPS review.

"Non-violation complaints are possible for goods and services (under GATT for goods and market-opening commitments in services). However, for the time being, members have agreed not to use them under the TRIPS Agreement. Under Article 64.2 this “moratorium” (i.e. the agreement not to use TRIPS non-violation cases) was to last for the first five years of the WTO (i.e. 1995–99). It has been extended since then.

At the same time, the TRIPS Council has discussed whether non-violation complaints should be allowed in intellectual property, and if so, to what extent and how (“scope and modalities”) they could be brought to the WTO’s dispute settlement procedures.

At least two countries (the US and Switzerland) say non-violation cases should be allowed in order to discourage members from engaging in “creative legislative activity” that would allow them to get around their TRIPS commitments. Most would like to see the moratorium continued or made permanent. Some have suggested additional safeguards."

This is relevant in the case of IP enforcement in China.

Read more here and here

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