south-north development monitor SUNS [Email Edition]

SUNS #4423, Tuesday 27 April 1999


Trade: US-EC side-tracking substantial TRIPs 27.3 review? (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Trade: US assailed for "piracy" of Cuban trade-marks Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Trade: Cuba-US Trademarks war over rum judgement? (IPS, Havana)

Development: New UNDP head looks for weapons to fight poverty (IPS, New York)

Yugoslavia: Nobel Peace Laureates call for end to war (IPS, Rome)

United States: NATO Leaders court Russia (IPS, Washington)

Yugoslavia: NATO raids cause more damage than Nazis (IPS, Belgrade)

Excerpts from some selected articles:

Trade: US-EC side-tracking substantial TRIPs 27.3 review?

Geneva, 25 Apr (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The United States and the European Union appear to be attempting at the WTO to prevent a mandated review of the provisions of the TRIPs Agreement in Art. 27.3 (b) on patentability of plants and animal varieties, and micro-organisms and life forms, and instead restrict the review to one of implementation.

The US and EC views were presented at the meeting of the TRIPs Council (21 and 22 April), but was strongly contested by a number of developing countries including India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Brazil, Malaysia, Egypt and Venezuela, trade diplomats said.

The issue is to be taken up again at the next meeting of the TRIPs Council in July.

In the scheme of Art 27, paragraph 1, creates an obligation on all WTO members to make available, "subject to the provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3", patents for any inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology...." Paragraph 2 of this article, enables members to exclude from patentability inventions in certain specified areas and sectors, including on grounds of protecting ordre public or morality, including protecting human, animal or plant life or health or avoiding serious prejudice to the environment...

Trade: US assailed for "piracy" of Cuban trade-marks

Geneva, 25 Apr (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- A range of developed and developing countries supported Cuba this week at the WTO that the US was violating its TRIPS obligations through its 1998 law, withdrawing trademark protection in the US for Cuba registered trademark "Havana Club" (used to market Cuban rum), and enabling a US Cuban exile enterprise to market its products under the Havana Club trade mark.

Another issue that came up, and where too the US seemed to be isolated, relates to the issue whether the present moratorium against "non-violation" complaints should continue after 1 Jan 2000, and such complaints ruled out under the WTO, TRIPS and the Dispute Settlement Understanding and provisions. The US said that non-violation complaints should be allowed and, in the absence of a consensus to the contrary, the moratorium would expire.

The Cuban complaint of US violation came up at the TRIPS Council meeting on 21-22 April, and Cuba was supported by the EU, the Dominican Republic, Malaysia, India, Venezuela, Honduras, Haiti, Brazil, Indonesia and Egypt.

Cuba had raised this issue at the TRIPS Council meeting in December last year, and again in February this year, asking the US to explain why its law do not violate the US TRIPS obligations, as claimed by the United States.

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