CDIP 24: KEI provides comments on the Report on the International Conference on Intellectual Property (IP) and Development

On 20 May 2019, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) convened an International Conference on Intellectual Property (IP) and Development.

On 19 November 2019, at the 24th session of WIPO’s Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP), Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) provided the following comments on the Secretariat’s report on this International Conference.

KEI statement on the Report on the International Conference on Intellectual Property (IP) and Development

19 November 2019

Thank you Chair. We commend the WIPO Secretariat for its comprehensive report on the International Conference on Intellectual Property (IP) and Development.

As described in paragraph 46 of the report, Dr. Suerie Moon underscored that TRIPS “flexibilities were part of the IP system, and provided as an example, the case of [Malaysia’s compulsory license on hepatitis C patents].

In response to a question regarding the political and commercial pressured faced by Malaysia for granting a compulsory license, Dr. Moon pointed to the following recommendation from the Report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines:

Governments and the private sector must refrain from explicit or implicit threats, tactics or strategies that undermine the right of WTO Members to use TRIPS flexibilities. Instances of undue political and commercial pressure should be formally reported to the WTO Secretariat during the Trade Policy Review of Members. WTO Members must register complaints against undue political and economic pressure, and take punitive measures against offending Members.

The report’s summary of session one on “How the IP System Benefits Innovation” noted that participants raised questions on the “concept of de-linkage in the context of access to medicines, TRIPs plus provisions on data exclusivity,” and the lack of transparency of R&D costs in the pharmaceutical industry.

In relation to themes to be addressed by the next International Conference on IP and Development in 2021, KEI proposes the following subjects:

  • We request WIPO to convene a panel to examine measures that member states can undertake to make the licensing of patents based upon public sector research more transparent.
  • The International Conference could discuss the role of patents in the development of and access to new cell and gene therapies. Among the topics to be considered are the extent to which patent exceptions for the treatment of humans apply, as well as the high costs and the anti-competitive nature of licensing the emerging thickets of patents for these treatments.
  • We request WIPO to convene an expert panel to address the experience of states in permitting the non-voluntary use of patents on medical inventions as a limitation on the remedies available in Part 3 of the TRIPS, including specifically cases of running royalties for infringement of medical devices and diagnostic tests, and the export of those products outside of the WTO 31bis framework.
  • We request WIPO to convene an expert panel to examine the impact of new digital platforms on the incomes of artists, and flows of incomes between countries, given the rise of streaming services.
  • Finally, what technology transfer is necessary to provide broad access to biologic drugs and treatments?