15 Jun 2006
The latest proposal to require additional biotechnology patent disclosure obligations in the TRIPS Agreement failed to gain broad support among WTO members at consultations held in Geneva on June 6, 2006. India, on behalf of itself and Brazil, China, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Peru, Thailand and Tanzania ("Disclosure Group"), recently submitted a revised proposed amendment to the WTO TRIPS Agreement that would create broad new grounds for challenges over the life of the patent for all biotechnology inventions.
Consultations on the proposal revealed little or no change in the positions of WTO members. Singapore, in particular, expressed concerns about new uncertainties for biotechnology R&D that would be created under the proposal. Deep divisions continued among developing countries, while Japan, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand (JUSCANZ countries) and South Korea restated their opposition. WTO members are scheduled to continue consultations this week, and also to discuss the proposal at the June TRIPS Council. A senior WTO official familiar with the CBD/TRIPS consultations, commenting on the "wide array" of positions on the issue, concluded that it will not be possible to reach consensus by July.