SCP28: Opening statement of the Asia & the Pacific Group

On 9 July 2018, Indonesia delivered this opening statement on behalf of the Asia & the Pacific Group at the 28th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP).

Opening Statement by the Republic of Indonesia on behalf of the Asia & the Pacific Group at the 28th session of the SCP

9 July 2018

Mr. Chair,

Indonesia is honored to deliver this statement on behalf of the Asia and the Pacific Group.

The Group is happy to see you again Mr. Chair. Allow us to express our confidence in your experience and leadership skills. We are hopeful that you will be able to guide this session and the upcoming session of the SCP towards successful outcomes. The group would also like to put on record its appreciation for the hard work put in by the WIPO Secretariat in preparation for this meeting.

Mr. Chair,

The Asia and the Pacific Group notes that even when minimum international standards of patent protection were set out by the Paris Convention and the TRIPS Agreement, the patent laws essentially remain territorial.

As a result, countries have significant room or “flexibility” to formulate domestic patent laws. Maintaining this flexibility is critical for policy planners to craft, amend or delay domestic patent laws in accordance with national development priorities and social and economic realities.

TRIPS flexibilities take into consideration these differences. It allows governments – especially in countries with limited resources – the necessary policy space to meet their health needs and at the same time foster innovation.

Hence, the work of this committee is very important in creating a balance between the rights of patent owners and the larger public interest particularly in the area of public health, technology transfer and patent related flexibilities.

Members of the Asia and the Pacific group will constructively participate and contribute towards a productive discussion on these issues.

Mr. Chair,

Members of the Asia and the Pacific Group are looking forward to the sharing session on opposition and administrative revocation mechanisms; to the sharing experiences of Member States on cooperation between patent offices in search and examination; sharing experiences of Member States with respect to enhancing examiners capacity, particularly in small and medium sized offices; sharing session on opposition and administrative revocation mechanisms; exchange of information regarding publicly accessible databases on patent information status and data on medicines and vaccines; sharing session on the experiences of Member States in implementing the confidentiality of communication between clients and their patent advisors; sharing information on patent law provisions that contributed to effective transfer of technology.

Member of the Asia and the Pacific Group are hopeful that the information exchanges and the sharing sessions that will be held in this session of the SCP will provide better understanding to improve and further enhance the efficiency of the current patent system in a manner sensitive to the diverse needs of the Member States.

We would also like to thank the Secretariat for Document SCP/28/2 on the Report on the International Patent System and encourage that such practice to update the SCP electronic forum website based on input received from Member States should be continued.

Mr. Chair,

The Group looks forward to the discussion on exceptions and limitations to patent rights. We would like to thank the Secretariat for the Second Draft Reference Document on Exceptions Documents regarding acts for obtaining regulatory approval from Authorities, document SCP/28/3 and 3.add. The Asia and the Pacific Group looks forward to the discussion of the draft reference and hope that work on the draft would be continued until completion.

The Asia and the Pacific Group also looks forward to the discussion of Document SCP/28/4 on the study on inventive step, as well as to the discussion of Document SCP/28/6 on WIPO’s technical assistance activities relating to enhancing examiners capacity. The Group has also taken note Document SCP/28/5 and will engage constructively on the discussion on the disclosure INN in patent applications and patents.

Mr. Chair,

With regard to patent and health, as the Group has stated in previous session of this committee, we would like to draw the attention of this Committee to the Report of the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Access to Medicine. It has specifically explored the policy incoherence between IP, trade and human rights and has made a number of recommendations in this regard. Some of these recommendations are specifically addressed to WIPO. Hence, Asia Pacific Group would like to request the SCP to initiate this exploratory discussion based on this important report.

The Group has taken note the proposal by the Delegation of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Switzerland to conduct a review of existing research on patents and access to medical products and health technologies, as well as to consider the role of the patent system in promoting the development of new medical products and advancement of health technologies. The Group is looking forward to the discussion on the said proposal.

As the Group has stated as well in the previous session of this committee, the Asia and the Pacific Group would like to draw attentions to the fact that a protocol amending the WTO TRIPS Agreement that would enable developing countries with insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector to import cheaper generic medicines produced under compulsory licencing finally came into force.

Under paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health of 2001, Ministers recognised that “WTO Members with insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector could face difficulties in making effective use of compulsory licensing under the TRIPS Agreement.”

It is an extremely important amendment that gives legal certainty that medicines can be exported at reasonable prices to satisfy the needs of countries with no pharmaceutical production capacity, or those with limited capacity, we hope this committee could also consider a work programme to support Members’ commitment and brought this important measure into force in accordance with the mandate of the Committee and the organization.

Mr. Chair

Asia Pacific Group supports the idea that SCP should have discussions on the opposition systems. The Committee should give equal prominence to the issue of opposition systems in the SCP’s work as patent quality. There should be a work programme on opposition systems that could, comprise a questionnaire survey on the different kinds of opposition mechanisms available in a country, the procedures and modalities for their use, constraints in using the opposition system effectively and how such opposition systems could be strengthened and their constraints removed.

The Asia & the Pacific group is of the view that the SCP should arrive at a common understanding on what is meant by “quality of patents” – does it mean efficiency of patent offices in disposing patent applications, or does it mean the quality of patents granted that is how to ensure that patent offices do not grant patents of questionable validity. Our group would like to request the WIPO Secretariat to provide regular information to the member States about the outcome of patent applications in different jurisdictions as well as outcomes of opposition procedures.

The Group takes note of the proposal to pursue work on Quality of Patent and the patent grant process put forward by Czech Republic, Kenya, Mexico, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. We are looking forward to the discussion of the proposal as reflected in document SCP/28/8.

Noting that Article 29.2 of TRIPS Agreement states that a Party to the TRIPS Agreement may require patent applicants to provide information about the applicant’s corresponding foreign applications and grants.

Mr. Chair

Members of the Group will intervene in their national capacity on specific agenda items. We look forward to a productive session under your able guidance.

I thank you.


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.