After two days of intense negotiations over the future work program of WIPO’s Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), the committee achieved consensus at around 3:40 PM Geneva time on Friday, 31 July 2015.
The future work of WIPO’s main normative committee dealing with patents now has a pathway on the following work streams:
1) Exceptions and Limitations to Patent Rights, 2) Quality of Patents, Including Opposition Systems, 3) Patents and Health, 4) Confidentiality of Communications between clients and their patent advisors and 5) Transfer of technology. In addition, the next session of the SCP will discuss the GRULAC proposal to revise the 1979 WIPO Model Law for Developing Countries on Inventions.
The SCP is WIPO”s main normative committee dealing with patents.
The next session of the SCP will devote half a day to a sharing session on experiences of experts from different regions on inventive step assessment in examination, opposition and revocation procedures.
During the discussions, Group B insisted on inserting the words “benefits and” prior to the word “challenges” in the section on Patents and Health:
½ day seminar on the relationship between patent systems and, inter alia, challenges related to availability of medicines in developing countries and LDCs, including on the promotion of innovation and fostering of the requisite technology transfer to facilitate access to generic and patented medicines in developing and least developed countries.
However, this textual proposal by Group B to insert “benefits and” was rejected by the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC), the African Group and the Asia Pacific Group; after much deliberation Group B joined with consensus.
In addition, Group B had requested that the original text of the transfer of technology section include references “practices and jurisprudence regarding voluntary licensing”; this was rejected by GRULAC, the African Group and the Asia Pacific Group. Group B reluctantly joined consensus at around 3:40 PM.
In closing remarks, Deputy Director General John Sandage (Patents and Technology Sector), noted: “215,000 CHF were spent on SCP22, 50% of your time was spent talking about what you want to talk about, and 50% of your time was spent on substance.”
Given the precarious nature of how consensus was reached, many delegations, while disappointed that they could not achieve a high level of ambition must have been relieved that WIPO’s normative patent committee was able to reach agreement on a work program. Pakistan noted, “Multilateral diplomacy is often about achieving the lowest common denominator”, a point echoed by Deputy Director General Sandage.
AGENDA ITEM 7: OTHER ISSUES ? PROPOSAL BY THE GROUP OF LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES (GRULAC)
19. Discussions were based on document SCP/22/5.
20. The Delegation of Brazil on behalf of the Group of Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) presented the proposal. Upon request, the Secretariat explained the history, nature and scope of the 1979 WIPO Model Law for Developing Countries on Inventions. Some delegations expressed their support on the proposal, while some other delegations expressed their opposition. Following some discussions, the Chair suggested that the Committee reflect on the discussion as well as the explanation given by the Secretariat, and continue discussing on the issue at the next session.
AGENDA ITEM 8: FUTURE WORK
21. The Committee decided its future work as follows:
- The non-exhaustive list of issues will remain open for further elaboration and discussion at the next session of the SCP.
- Without prejudice to the mandate of the SCP, the Committee agreed that its work for the next session be confined to fact-finding and not lead to harmonization at this stage, and would be carried out as follows:
(1) Exceptions and Limitations to Patent Rights
– Compilation by the Secretariat of Member States’ experiences and case studies on the effectiveness of exceptions and limitations, in particular, in addressing development issues.
(2) Quality of Patents, including Opposition Systems
– ½ day sharing session on experiences of experts from different regions on inventive step assessment in examination, opposition and revocation procedures.
– The Secretariat will improve the webpage on work sharing and collaborative activities by SCP/24.
(3) Patents and Health
– ½ day seminar on the relationship between patent systems and, inter alia, challenges related to availability of medicines in developing countries and LDCs, including on the promotion of innovation and fostering of the requisite technology transfer to facilitate access to generic and patented medicines in developing and least developed countries.
– Continue discussions on the feasibility study on disclosure of International Nonproprietary Names (INN) in patent applications and/or patents (document SCP/21/9).
(4) Confidentiality of communications between clients and their patent advisors
– Sharing session among Member States concerning confidentiality protection applied to different types of patent professionals and to national and foreign patent advisors.
(5) Transfer of Technology
– Discussion on transfer of technology vis-à-vis sufficiency of disclosure, based on document SCP/22/4.