The Standing Committee on the Law of Trade-marks, Industrial Design and Geographical Indications (SCT), at its 35th session held at World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in April, failed to reach a consensus on its most pressing topic: Designs.  Hence, the Preparatory Session to a Diplomatic Conference on Designs for 2017 was cancelled.

There were two main points of contention, namely, the inclusion of technical assistance and a disclosure requirement.  The issue of technical assistance appears to be reaching a compromise such that the substance of technical assistance could be decided at a Diplomatic Conference; however, the issue of disclosure remains and was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Delegations at the SCT remain split on whether a disclosure of origin requirement should be included in the Articles of the Treaty. Some countries view this as a substantive issue and outside the scope of a Design Law Treaty (DLT), which is meant to be a procedural Treaty.  Other countries felt the disclosure requirement was necessary to protect Traditional Knowledge and Forklore from misappropriation.

Whether WIPO will be able to find a solution in order to convene a Diplomatic Conference in 2017 remains to be seen.