Balanced agenda reached at the conclusion of WIPO patent committee

The Summary by the Chair of the WIPO Standing Committee Committee on the Law of Patents’ (SCP) Thirteenth Session which took place in Geneva from March 23, 2009 to March 27, 2009 has been posted on the WIPO website.

The Fourteenth Session of the WIPO SCP will be held from November 9 to November 12, 2009 in Geneva. The four agenda items discussed at last week’s SCP: 1) Standards and Patents, 2) Exclusions from Patentable Subject Matter and Exceptions and Limitations to the Rights, 3) The Client-Attorney Privilege and 4) Dissemination of Patent Information will remain on the agenda. Consequently, WIPO Member States and Observers will have a second chance to tackle these issues in greater depth in their future deliberations at the next patent committee in November 2009. In addition, the Secretariat will produce two further preliminary papers on 1) Transfer of Technology and 2) Opposition Systems for the next meeting for the Committee’s consideration.

Of particular interest is the Committee’s instructions to the WIPO Secretariat to commission external experts to produce a “study on exclusions, exceptions and limitations focused on, but not limited to, issues suggested by Members, such as public health, education, research and experimentation and patentability of life forms, including from a public policy, socio-economic developmental perspective, bearing in mind the level of economic development”. It should also be noted that the SCP decided to add two new issues to the non-exhaustive list of issues for examination namely “patents and the environment, with a particular attention to climate change and alternative sources of energy”, as well as “patent quality management systems”

Here below is the portion of the Summary of the Chair detailing the patent committee’s future work.

9. Following a proposal by the Chair, the Committee

(a) reaffirmed that the non-exhaustive list of issues identified at the twelfth session of the SCP held in June 2008 would remain open for further elaboration and discussion at its next session, and decided to include two further issues in the list, namely “patents and the environment, with a particular attention to climate change and alternative sources of energy”, as well as “patent quality management systems”1;

(b) agreed that documents SCP/13/2, 3, 4 and 5 would remain open for further discussion and comments at the next session of the SCP;

(c) decided that five studies will be prepared as follows, taking into account interventions of Members:
(i) the Secretariat will commission external experts a study on exclusions, exceptions and limitations focused on, but not limited to, issues suggested by Members, such as public health, education, research and experimentation and patentability of life forms, including from a public policy, socio-economic developmental perspective, bearing in mind the level of economic development;

(ii) the Secretariat will prepare a concept paper on technical solutions to improve greater access to, and dissemination of, patent information;

(iii) the Secretariat will expand the preliminary study on the client-attorney privilege (document SCP/13/4), to reflect the current state of play in this area, taking into account perspective of various stakeholders and using external experts, if necessary;

(iv) the Secretariat will establish preliminary studies on the two following additional topics contained in the non-exhaustive list of issues agreed at the 12th session of the SCP: “Transfer of Technology” and “Opposition Systems”.

(d) The Secretariat will hold presentations of the studies at the beginning of the next meeting.

(e) Several delegations expressed the importance of engagement in the work of the Committee, and in so doing underlined the need for the studies prepared to be available in all official UN languages. The Committee requested the Secretariat to produce the cost estimates of translating the studies.

10. The International Bureau informed the SCP that its fourteenth session was tentatively scheduled to be held from November 9 to 13, 2009, in Geneva.

11. The SCP noted that the present document was a summary established under the responsibility of the Chair and that the official record would be contained in the report of the session. The report would reflect all the interventions made during the meeting, and would be adopted in accordance with the procedure agreed by the SCP at its fourth session (see document SCP/4/6, paragraph 11), which provided for the members of the SCP to comment on the draft report made available on the SCP Electronic Forum. The Committee would then be invited to adopt the draft report, including the comments received, at its following session.

12. The SCP noted the contents of this summary by the Chair.