Beyond Doha – part II

More on the trade talks and I-Cubed Economy issues from Intellectual Property Watch » WTO Doha Round Suspended Indefinitely, IP Issues May Be Kept On Table:

The end of the talks means that important developing country issues, such as the relationship between the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) likely will not go forward for the time being. This issue has been seen by some as outside of the mandate of this round of talks.
Biodiversity Patent Disclosure, Geographical Indications Still to be Pushed
A number of developing countries, including Brazil, China and India, have proposed that the TRIPS agreement be changed to make it mandatory to include disclosure the origin of genetic resources in patent applications (IPW, Genetic Resources, 7 June 2006).
Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told Intellectual Property Watch that Brazil “will continue to push” the issue although he noted that “all the groups are stuck,” referring to the negotiations in general.
India’s Nath agreed. He told Intellectual Property Watch: “Of course we will continue to push” for disclosure of origin in patent applications, as the CBD issue has been an “important ingredient of this round.”
But he added that India and the other supporters of the CBD issue did not want it to become an “instrument of abuse” through unfair use, saying that it should not be something these countries would have to use to trade off for something else.
The European Union is also determined to keep its demand regarding geographical indications (GIs), referring to products deriving their names from geographic places, alive.
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mariann Fischer Boel, told Intellectual Property Watch that the GIs are “extremely important” for southern European countries in particular. She said the European Union would therefore keep the issue on the table, meaning not only on the EU agenda, but “on this [the WTO] table as well.”

While this round of talks may have broken down, many of the issues remain at the forefront of interest. What mechanisms emerge to address these issues is uncertain. As the above comments concerning India and the CBD issues indicate, these issues may need to be addressed directly rather than incorporated into some trade-off negotiations.

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