Analytical Note, September 2004

Establishing a ‘Development Agenda’ for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): Commentary on Proposal by Argentina and Brazil.

The fortieth Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will take place in Geneva from 27 September to 5 October 2004. The Assemblies will address various matters including issues currently under negotiation in various WIPO committees and bodies. In particular, the Assemblies will be asked to debate and or provide direction on issues crucial to developing countries and development friendly civil society organizations. Issues ranging from the future of the Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT) negotiations, the inter-linkages between the different fora addressing the issues of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, the protection of broadcasting organizations to enforcement, all which raise important questions from a development perspective, are among the issues on the agenda.

Developing countries and civil society organizations continue to face a number of challenges in effectively participating at the WIPO Assemblies although there have been significant improvements to their participation in a number of individual WIPO committees and working groups. In this regard, the South Centre and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) prepared in August 2004 a background paper titled “Integrating Development into WIPO Activities and Processes: Strategies for the 2004 WIPO Assemblies” to assist developing countries to think through the various issues on the agenda of the 2004 WIPO Assemblies.

That paper reviewed the status of the various issues in the individual WIPO committees and other bodies and outlined some broad substantive as well as strategic and political questions that developing countries need to address as they prepare for and participate in the 2004 Assemblies. In particular, the background paper addressed matters relating to the SPLT, the request by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to WIPO, the possible diplomatic conference on the protection of broadcasting organizations, the PCT reform, the WIPO Policy Advisory Commission (PAC) and the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE).

In the meantime, on 26 August 2004, the delegations of Argentina and Brazil presented a proposal on ‘Establishing a Development Agenda for WIPO’ and requested that it be included as an item on the agenda of the Assemblies. Although this proposal has not yet been published by the International Bureau of WIPO as a formal Assembly document, it merits immediate consideration. Considering the issues it raises, it was thought prudent to analyse the proposal separately and not as part of document SC/TADP/AN/IP/2.4 Consequently, this Analytical Note has been prepared to assist developing countries to think through the various issues raised by the proposal with a view to engaging fully in this crucial debate. The proposal by Argentina and Brazil is annexed to this paper.

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