UNITAID Patent Pool Budget Approved; Implementation To Begin 13/04/2010 by Kaitlin Mara, Intellectual Property Watch 4 Comments IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate. Today, board members of international drug purchasing mechanism UNITAID approved a 2010 budget for a pioneering patent pool initiative. The Finance and Administration Committee of UNITAID decided to budget approximately $3.9 million for the creation of the patent pool, a UNITAID spokesperson told Intellectual Property Watch. This decision means that implementation of the project – a plan for which was approved in December – may now begin in earnest. At a UNITAID board meeting in December (IPW, Public Health, 14 December 2009), a sum of “up to $4 million for the setting up of the patent pool in 2010” was approved [pdf], subject to the approval of the Finance and Administration Committee. The committee’s members are: the African Union, Chile, France (Chair), Spain, the United Kingdom (Vice Chair), Communities, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organization, according to the UNITAID website. Also this week, the UNITAID Policy and Strategy Committee will meet informally to discuss the patent pool’s legal structure on Thursday. The policy and strategy meeting is intended to be a “brainstorming session,” the spokesperson said. On the table for Thursday, according to the decisions [pdf] of a 5 February meeting of UNITAID’s board, are: creating a memorandum of understanding between UNITAID and the “Patent Pool Foundation” that will run the project, as well as other details such as: technology transfer mechanisms; consistency with other international agreements and non-interference with national laws (including patent laws) that govern access to medicines; transparency and review mechanisms; and quality and safety measures. More details are available from the February meeting minutes here [pdf]. The memorandum of understanding is expected to be approved at the next UNITAID board meeting, scheduled for 8-9 June. The patent pool is intended to facilitate the creation of lower-cost generic drugs in developing countries, and to facilitate innovation in needed areas, such as AIDS medicines suitable for children. It does this by creating a “one-stop shop” for the licensing of needed technology, which reduces the costs of searching for patent holders and drawing up agreements with several different owners. Kaitlin Mara may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."UNITAID Patent Pool Budget Approved; Implementation To Begin" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.