SCP 25: Opening statement of Knowledge Ecology International

On Monday, 12 December 2016, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) delivered its opening statement to the 25th session of WIPO’s Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP).

KEI Opening Statement, for SCP 25
12 December 2016

KEI will discuss two topics. The first concerns government rights in patented inventions, when the government funds or partly funds the research.

The United States, like many other countries, retains certain rights in patents for inventions when it funds the research. This includes world-wide royalty free rights to practice or have practiced on its behalf, an invention.

Recently, a generic drug manufacturer is Canada asked the U.S government to use those rights in order to export a generic version of the prostate cancer drug Enzalutamide, which is sold under the brand name of Xtandi, to countries with a per capita income less than one third of the US, including South Africa and Chile. The US government rejected the request, for now, but also indicated that it wanted to consider such requests within a broader policy framework.

KEI suggests WIPO create an instrument that would create reciprocal rights in government funded inventions, so that countries that were members part of such an agreement would agree to the terms and modalities under which they could share access to government funded inventions.

The second topic concerns the Report of the US Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Access to Medicine (the HLP Report), that several groups have referred to their opening statements.

We encourage the SCP to consider the HLP Report, and in particular, the recommendations on transparency, a topic of interest to many member states, and also the recommendations addressing the delinkage of R&D costs from product prices, an important topic that has implications for the practical implementation of patent protection for medical inventions, as well as the norms concerning patents.

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