The EU and its Member States would like to wish you and your Vice-Chairs every success in guiding our work this week. We would also like to thank the Secretariat for its excellent preparatory work for this session.
With regard to participation in WIPO treaties, we are pleased to confirm that the EU has concluded its legislative procedure to become a contracting Party to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement. Therefore, we are happy to announce that the EU will be able to deposit its instrument of accession to the Geneva Act with WIPO in the forthcoming weeks.
Looking back to the previous SCT session, we recall with appreciation that we moved forward on all key topics and delegations maintained a constructive spirit. As to trade marks, we held intense discussions and made some progress in seeking a compromise solution on the topic of country names. As regards designs, we agreed on a more defined scope of future work concerning Graphical User Interface designs and embarked on exploring the topic of international exhibitions. We are hopeful that in the end, step-by-step progress on geographical indications can also lead to clear and tangible results within the SCT mandate and framework that have a positive impact on stakeholders. We would like to reiterate that the SCT should not aim to interpret or revise provisions of the Lisbon Agreement or the Geneva Act.
Looking at the agenda of this meeting, first as regards industrial designs, we refer to the discussions held in relation to the Design Law Treaty during the General Assembly this year. We were pleased to engage in informal discussions initiated by the circulation of the facilitator’s proposal for a possible compromise solution on outstanding issues. Nevertheless, we have to note with regret that again this year, no positive decision to convene a diplomatic conference on the adoption of a Design Law Treaty could be achieved and that the matter remains on the agenda for the General Assembly in 2020.
In relation to Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), following the launch of a Questionnaire finalised at SCT 40, we endorsed the extension of the deadline to submit additional responses by 31 July 2019. We would like to thank SCT members for further contributions and the Secretariat for compiling all responses received in document SCT/41/2, including replies with further information on the common practice developed by the European Union Intellectual Property Office. In all the up-to-date and detailed responses we see a wealth of information which will no doubt prove useful in further discussions and we can fully support the compilation to be used as reference for further work on selected pertinent issues for such designs.
Concerning future work on this topic, we note with much interest the proposal submitted by the delegations of Japan and the United States of America in document SCT/42/ We welcome this new initiative and support the aim of adopting this joint recommendation as a practical way forward to achieve a more harmonised approach in relation to industrial design protection for GUI designs.
As regards the proposal submitted by Spain relating to “official or officially recognized international exhibitions”, we supported the launch of the Questionnaire finalised at our last session. We would like to thank the Secretariat for preparing a compilation of responses to the Questionnaire in document SCT/42/2 Prov. The compilation reveals that there exist considerable divergences in practices on a number of pertinent questions. We support the continuation of discussions on this issue. We would like to propose the organisation of an information session on that matter to explore users’ needs and national experiences, and to share best practice
s among offices.
On the topic of country names, we discussed a number of proposals at the last SCT session. As regards the proposal in document SCT/41/6, in general we remain supportive of the underlying rationale as explained on pages 1 to 3 of the document. At our last session, the proponents elaborated a revised version of the text in document SCT/41/6 which was subject to informal discussions. We reiterate our appreciation of the spirit of seeking consensus that is reflected in this joint proposal and we stand ready to participate in continued discussions to address certain technical issues in the context of the latest wording as proposed by co-sponsors.
Finally, turning to geographical indications, we welcome the decision to organise an information session at this meeting to discuss three topics submitted by each of the proponents of the lists of topics tabled at SCT 41. We look forward to engaging constructively on each of the selected topics in order to advance the international debate on geographical indications. We encourage the wider membership to table proposals for debate on GIs on subjects of concerns and we hope that we will be able to agree on some particular topics for further discussion to be conducted at SCT 43.
Chair, the EU and its Member States are hopeful to have a successful meeting under your guidance. We look forward to continuing work and contributing constructively in discussions in all three key areas of the SCT.