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WTO Workshop Seeks To Assist Developing Nations On IP

by Lorys Charalambous, for LawAndTax-News.com, Cyprus

11 December 2007


The World Trade Organization announced on Friday that nineteen developing-country officials had participated in the 3rd workshop designed to help their countries make use of the pharmaceutical patents flexibilities in the WTO intellectual property agreement, which took place between 3 and 5 December, 2007.

Held in Geneva, this three-day WTO Workshop on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health was part of the WTO technical cooperation and capacity-building activities - TRIPS is “trade-related intellectual property rights”, the name used for the WTO’s intellectual property agreement.

Like the first and second workshops in September 2005 and November 2006, this gathering aimed to ensure that the participants have the information necessary so that their countries can make use of the TRIPS Agreement’s flexibilities for public health purposes.

Among other subjects, the workshop looked at the additional flexibility agreed by members in August 2003 and December 2005 to allow generic versions of patented medicines to be made under compulsory licence for export to countries that cannot manufacture the medicines themselves, sometimes called the “paragraph 6 system”.

The workshop featured presentations by WTO officials, representatives of other intergovernmental organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), World Health Organization (WHO), Global Fund, and UN Development Program (UNDP), representatives of non-governmental organizations such as the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (IFPMA), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and representatives of some WTO member governments.

The participants came from: Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, the Gambia, Hong Kong China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mali, Namibia, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, Vietnam and Zambia.


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