SCP27: WIPO patent committee agrees to future work on patent oppositions, exceptions and limitations, and patents and health

On Friday afternoon, 15 December 2017, the 27th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) agreed to a future program of work that included the following topics: 1) Exceptions and Limitations to Patent Rights, 2) Quality of Patents, including Opposition Systems, 3) Patents and Health, Confidentiality of Communications between Clients and Their Patent Advisors, and 5) Transfer of Technology.

The dates for the next session of the SCP have been scheduled from 9 July 2018 to 12 July 2018.

The text on future work is reproduced in full below.


1. 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:

Exceptions and Limitations to Patent Rights

  • The Secretariat will continue working on a draft reference document on exceptions and limitations. It will submit a second draft reference document on exception [sic] regarding acts for obtaining regulatory approval from authorities to SCP/28. In this regard the Secretariat will invite Member States to send any additional inputs with respect to, for example, challenges faced by Member States in implementing the exception and results of the national/regional implementation. The Secretariat will prepare a first draft reference document on the research exception, and will submit it to SCP/29.

Quality of Patents, including Opposition Systems

  • The Secretariat will prepare a further study on inventive step, giving a particular attention to the topics suggested in paragraph 8 of document SCP/24/3 (Proposal by the Delegation of Spain).
  • A sharing session on opposition and administration revocation mechanisms will be held at SCP/28. The session will address national/regional experiences, challenges encountered and possible solutions, among others.
  • Member States will continue to share their experiences on cooperation between patent offices in search and examination, including sharing of information concerning the corresponding foreign applications and grants, at SCP/28. Member States may address challenges encountered and possible solutions, among other issues.

Patents and Health

  • The Committee will continue exchanging information on publicly accessible databases on patent information status and data, on medicines and vaccines at SCP/28, taking the issues addressed in paragraphs 18 and 19 of document SCP/24/4 (Proposal by the African Group for a Work Program on Patents and Health) into consideration.
  • The Secretariat will update the feasibility study on the disclosure of International Nonproprietary Names (INN) in patent applications and patents (document SCP/21/9) and submit it to SCP/28.
  • Member States will share their experiences with respect to enhancing examiners capacity, particularly in small and medium-sized offices at SCP/28. The Secretariat will report its technical assistance activities in this area at SCP/28.
  • The Committee will continue discussion on the revised proposal by the Delegation of Canada, co-sponsored by the Delegation of Switzerland (document SCP/27/8 and 8 Add.), at SCP/28.

Confidentiality of Communications between Clients and Their Patent Advisors

  • Member States will continue sharing their experiences and court cases in implementing the confidentiality of communications between clients and their patent advisors through national legislation, including cross-border issues.

Transfer of Technology

  • Member States will continue sharing information on patent law provisions that contributed to effective transfer of technology.


Thiru Balasubramaniam is the Geneva Representative of Knowledge Ecology International. Prior to his post as KEI’s Geneva Representative, Mr. Balasubramaniam worked at Health Action International in Colombo and at the World Health Organization in Geneva as a technical officer in the Department of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy dealing with access to medicines and intellectual property. He began his career with CPTech working on issues related to health care and intellectual property. Mr. Balasubramaniam holds a B.A. in Economics and a Minor in European History from the University of Pennsylvania.