The Slovak republic has the honour to deliver the Opening Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
At the outset, the EU and its Member States would like to thank Ambassador Duque from Colombia for all the work he has done as the Chair of the General Assemblies. His chairmanship and leadership allowed the organisation to make progress on a number of files, in particular on external offices where agreement was reached on guiding principles. Ambassador Duque also oversaw an agreement on a new mandate for the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), much to his credit.
We would like to welcome ambassador Karklins of Latvia as acting chair of the General Assemblies. Ambassador Karklins has a vast experience working in multilateral organisations, and we are confident that with his leadership and experience these Assemblies will be a success. We also welcome the Vice-chairs.
We would like to thank the WIPO secretariat for preparing the broad range of documents that will be discussed in the following days.
In line with the 2015 General Assembly decision to finalize the basic proposal for the Design Law Treaty, the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) discussed the issue of disclosure requirement as proposed in article 3 of the Design Law Treaty. Although we would like to commend the Chair of the SCT for his tireless efforts and textual proposals, we note with regret that we were not able to conclude these discussions.
The EU and its Member States would like to stress once again that the aim of the Design law Treaty is to simplify and harmonize current design procedures that are used in practice. The text is largely finalized. We remain unconvinced that the proposal on disclosure requirement is relevant for industrial design, and that this proposal assists in aligning and simplifying registration procedures. We would encourage efforts towards finding a compromise during these Assemblies in deciding whether to convene a diplomatic conference for the adoption of a Design Law Treaty at the end of the first half of 2017. If agreement can't be reached, we see no need for further discussions on this topic in the framework of the SCT.
The EU and its Member States welcome that the 24th session of the Standing Committee on Patents (SCP) agreed on future work. The SCP addresses five topics, which reflect regional interests and priorities. Maintaining this delicate balance is of the utmost importance.
As far as the work of the Standing Committee on Copyright and related Rights (SCCR) is concerned, the EU and its Member States reiterate their commitment to progressing towards the conclusion of a treaty on the protection of broadcasting organisations. We look forward to the further engagement by the Committee in order to create the conditions that will lead us towards a successful outcome.
The first two meetings under the new mandate of the IGC focused on Genetic Resources, and recently we held the first of two meetings in relation to Traditional Knowledge. The EU and its Member States contributed constructively to these sessions, and we are looking forward to the upcoming meeting and seminar on Traditional Knowledge.
The EU and its Member States attach the utmost importance to an effective development and promotion of all areas of Intellectual Property, including Geographical Indications. In particular, the EU and its Member States stress the importance that the Lisbon Union be placed on an equal footing with all other Unions administrated by WIPO.