CPTech statement on today's TRIPS council decision on the LDC TRIPS extension

November 29, 2005

If the reports are correct regarding today's TRIPS council decision to grant a limited waiver of the TRIPS to LDCs, it is a pretty small pre-ministerial concession.

The good thing is that the TRIPS council allowed the LDCs to move as a block, as they did in the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.

The worst thing is the new "no backtracking" provision in paragraph 5, which reportedly reads:

5. Least-developed country Members will ensure that any changes in their laws, regulations and practice made during the additional transitional period do not result in a lesser degree of consistency with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.
Since most LDCs have terrible TRIPS plus laws on the books already, it means there is less than meets the eye for most LDC members.

The July 2013 compliance date is much sooner than the LDCs asked for, and the new 1 January 2008 deadline to report to the TRIPS council on what technical assistance they need to comply with the TRIPS is a signal that the US and the EC will still pound on the LDCs to move toward higher levels of IPR standards and enforcement. Nothing in the agreement protects the LDCs from bilateral pressure either, which is increasingly the main issue for countries.

Also, the US and EC are clearly not about to give life to the notion that LDCs might need a radically different IPR regime.

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