8:53 AM Jul 20, 1994
WTO NOT TO DUPLICATE WIPO CAPACITIESGeneva 20 July (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The World Trade Organization when it comes into being would not attempt to duplicate the expertise or the extensive data base and registry of the World Intellectual Property Organization but seek cooperative arrangements with WIPO, according to GATT delegations. This is reported to have been agreed upon in the WTO Preparatory Committee's Sub-Committee on Institutional and Legal matters. After consultations, it has been agreed that the GATT and the WTO would establish cooperative arrangements with the WIPO and UNCTAD and other relevant international organizations on the administration of the Uruguay Round accord on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights. The WIPO bureau has large technical and legal expertise, and has en extensive data base and registry relating to the various intellectual property laws and regulations in countries, and IPR registrations etc. GATT delegates said they did not envisage either the current GATT or the future WTO establishing an elaborate technical staff and expertise beyond the limited ones needed to service the TRIPs accord and the TRIPs Council, but rather cooperate and use the expertise available in the WIPO and other organizations, and also to make use of the extensive WIPO registry on all these matters rather than duplicate them. The delegations agreed that the TRIPs accord did not have any requirements for participants to notify the GATT or the WTO on issues covered by the agreement beyond those relating to transparency in Art. 63 (1) of the Agreement. The United States has been attempting to set terms of reference of the TRIPs Council, and through it for notifications, and use these to indirectly get more benefits for its corporations in respect of the pipeline protection etc. While industrial countries have one year from WTO entry into force to comply with TRIPs provision and ensure compliance of their laws and measures with the obligations, developing countries have five years, excepting in cases where there are process but not product patents when a 10-year period is provided. Least Developed countries have a longer period to comply with the obligations. Art. 63 (1) of the TRIPs requires WTO members to publish laws and regulations, and final judicial decisions and administrative rulings of general application pertaining to the subject matter of the TRIPs Agreement (on availability, scope, acquisition, enforcement and prevention of abuse of IPRs). Where such publication is not practicable, the material is to be made publicly available, in a national language, in a manner that would enable governments and right holders to become acquainted with them. All bilateral agreements between countries are also to be similarly made public. The Article while also providing for notification of these laws and regulations to the WTO Council for Trips has asked that Council to minimise the burden on members by waiving the obligation if cooperative arrangements could be established with WIPO which has got a common registry of all such laws and regulations.