IPPC Secretariat update on the status of ISPM 15 – Guidelines for regulating wood packaging material in international trade and the wood packaging mark
In 2002, the implementation of ISPM 15 (Guidelines for regulating wood packaging in international trade) was suspended while legal problems concerning the mark which had to be added to packaging wood were solved (see EPPO RS 2002/105). FAO now considers that the ISPM and the mark are now available for use by all contracting parties. As the mark needs to be registered in some countries, the IPPC Secretariat has prepared explanations which were presented and discussed at the 15th Technical Consultation held in Sigatoka, Fiji (2003-09-29/10-03).
“The final standard including the revised mark is on the IPPC website and is being printed in booklet form.
Registration proceedings have commenced in over 80 countries. These countries have been chosen on the basis of ease of registration (Madrid Protocol signatories), likely volume of use of wood packaging or past history of trade mark infringement. This process has been very costly and time-consuming and the IPPC Secretariat is trying to minimize further costs.
The IPPC Secretariat continues to receive enquiries about registration or licensing of the agreement. The following statements address the two major issues that are raised.
Request for licence agreement.
FAO has made a general statement that ISPM 15 including the mark is available for use by all contracting parties to the IPPC and FAO members according to the IPPC and relevant principles and standards. FAO considers that this provides sufficient authorization to use the mark and to apply relevant national laws on trademark protection with respect to the mark. As a result, it is considered that a specific licence agreement is not needed by each contracting party or FAO member. Negotiation of a specific licence agreement with each IPPC contracting party or FAO member will take considerable time and will consume significant resources. However, FAO acknowledges that it is possible that the legal framework in some countries may require that a licence agreement be in place to allow the mark to be used. In this regard, we request that you consider whether the existing FAO general statement on this matter forms the basis for such a license, or could acquire this status with a few simple additional actions or clarifications. If you consider a licence agreement is essential for your country please contact the IPPC Secretariat.
Mark not being registered in that country, registration requested.
Registration of the mark has commenced in a large number of countries but FAO cannot be responsible for registration in all countries, as this would entail high registration costs. FAO has made a general statement that ISPM 15 including the mark is available for use by all contracting parties to the IPPC and FAO members according to the IPPC and relevant principles and standards. Registration in individual countries that are contracting parties to the IPPC or FAO members does not confer any additional rights or obligations (regarding the use of the mark as established in the IPPC convention) on those countries. All IPPC contracting parties and FAO members can use the mark irrespective of the registration status in their country. However, if there are specific circumstances in regard to your country that might justify registration FAO is prepared to consider them.
In summary the mark is an integral part of the standard and, given the statements by FAO consenting to use, there is no reason that contracting parties and members of FAO cannot use the mark just as they use the other parts of ISPM 15 and other ISPMs.”
IPPC Secretariat. Discussion paper prepared by the IPPC Secretariat for the 15th RPPO Technical Consultation, Sigatoka, Fiji, 2003-09-29/10-03.