Trips Agreement Article 27.3 B

This document summarizes what happened with the revision of section 27.3 (b) of trips in 1999. It shares GRAIN`s understanding of the extent to which developing countries are implementing the obligation to provide intellectual property rights through plant varieties. It concludes with a call to respond seriously to the proposals of many governments in the South, i.e. a thorough revision of the provisions of Article 27, paragraph 3, paragraph b), the extension of transitional periods and the resolution of outstanding issues, such as the requirement that life forms should not be patentable. From 1999 to 2002, the issue of the relationship between the TRIPS ON agreement and the Biological Diversity Convention was addressed as part of the integrated agenda item for the Article 27.3 review, item b), of the TRIPS Council. This issue was included in the mandate of the Doha Ministerial Declaration, paragraphs 19 and 12, paragraph b. Subsequently, work began on two separate tracks. On the first rail, a specific item on the agenda on the relationship between the TRIPS AGREEMENT and the Biological Diversity Convention was placed on the agenda of the Regular TRIPS Council in 2002, and work is underway. The second route is a consultation process initiated by the WTO Director-General since 2003, in accordance with point 12 (b) on outstanding implementation issues.

This mandate was recently reaffirmed at ministerial level in the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration and, again, work continues. 1. The substantive review of 27.3b is not yet complete. When the TRIPS AGREEMENT was adopted in 1994, it was agreed that the provisions of Article 27.3b would be reviewed prior to implementation in the South. The revision began in 1999 and developing countries have expressed many concerns about the content of the text in which they themselves have not participated. Four trips Council meetings in 1999 were not enough to conclude the discussion and the year ended with many countries requesting an extension of time and serious concerns were on the table. 4. Together, the decline in WTO legitimacy after Seattle and the continued nature of Review 27.3b leave developing countries with proactive room for manoeuvre. However, despite the threat of possible trade sanctions, few have managed to adopt such provisions in the last hour.

We are only aware of 21 WTO members in developing countries that currently have plant breeding protection (PVP) legislation in Table 1. 76 WTO members in the South are not yet ultimately in the protection of intellectual property species for plant varieties. Given that 29 of these 76 countries are classified as « least developed » (LDCs) and have a longer transition period until 1 January 2006, we nevertheless face a situation in which 47 Third World countries could currently be considered contentious objectives in Geneva because they did not comply with Article 27.3 (b) of the ADPIC agreement.