Wednesday, May 17, 2006

US delegation opposes consumer groups' inclusion on WIPO ACE panels

17 May 2006
Thiru Balasubramaniam

As mentioned in my earlier blog entry, WIPO hosts enforcement beauty contest (aka Advisory Committtee on Enforcement), the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) is taking place from 15-17 May 2006. The first two days saw 15 presentations, 13 made by WIPO Member States Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Brazil China, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Romania, Serbia & Montenegro, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka and Switzerland and 2 presentations from industry group NGOs, the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the International Federation of Phonogram and Videogram Producers (IFPI). The delegate from INTA was Ms. Toe Su Aung the General Counsel for the BATMark (British American Tobacco's IP management company).

Yesterday, the delegate from Third World Network made a pointed intervention to the Committee which noted the absence of any consumer voices on the WIPO ACE panels. Today in its intervention, Brazil called for the consumer voice to be taken into consideration at these deliberations and requested that consumer organizations be represented in the WIPO ACE panels. The delegate (Paul Salmon) from the United States, however, opposed the inclusion of consumer groups on panels on the Advisory Committee on Enforcement as he noted that consumer groups did NOT fall into the mandate of the ACE which only mentions consultations with the private industry. Argentina took the floor to call for greater public interest NGO participation in this body; Brazil also reiterated its point that all stakeholder views be taken into consideration in the WIPO ACE.