WIPO Patent Committee Agrees On Future Work, After Uncertainty 01/08/2015 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The World Intellectual Property Organization patent law committee today agreed on work programme going forward that includes a balance of North-South issues such as patent quality, patents and health, client-attorney privilege, technology transfer, and exceptions to patents. Agreement on the work program was difficult despite a comparatively fast-moving week of progress on these same areas of work. After sailing through the agenda this week, delegates found it much more difficult to agree on a work programme for the next session of the committee. They finally agreed but regional groups underlined that agreement was only reached for the sake of safeguarding the committee. The 22nd session of the Standing Committee on the Law of Patent (SCP) took place from 27-31 July. After almost two days of discussions, and several versions of the chair’s draft work programme, delegates agreed. This afternoon, the summary by the chair [pdf] was swiftly adopted with one minor modification. At the end of the morning, the chair, who said it had been difficult to choose among many interesting ideas put forward by regional groups for the future work of the SCP, told the plenary that six or the seven regional groups were prepared to agree to the final draft of her proposed work programme. Compromise for Its Own Sake The six regional groups confirmed their readiness to agree on the chair’s proposal, each of them underlining the fact that the programme as proposed constituted the least common denominator and did not fulfil their wishes, but was a way to keep the committee functioning. The Group B developed countries asked that on the topic of transfer of technology and activity which appeared in an earlier version of the chair’s proposal be reintroduced. The activity the group wanted brought back to the work programme was a compilation of member states’ information on national legislation regarding voluntary licences and licensing agreements. The group also asked that on patents and health, the half day-seminar proposed in the work programme include not only the challenges related to availability of medicines in developing countries and least-developed countries, but also the benefits of the patent system. The other regional groups opposed the proposed amendments by Group B, arguing that each of them had to make concessions and the work programme did not address many of their concerns and proposals, but it had to be agreed as negotiated during informal discussions, as a package. After some more coordinating over the lunch break, Group B relented to the visible relief of Chair Bucura Ionescu of Romania, and, too, agreed to the future work programme. Japan on behalf of Group B said the group regrets that many proposals coming from the group “which fit the core mandate of this committee” have not been taken up in the future work programme. The future work of the committee as described in Agenda Item 8 of the summary by the chair is as follows: Exceptions and Limitations to Patent Rights – Compilation by the Secretariat of Member States’ experiences and case studies on the effectiveness of exceptions and limitations, in particular, in addressing development issues. Quality of Patents, including Opposition Systems – ½ day sharing session on experiences of experts from different regions on inventive step assessment in examination, opposition and revocation procedures. – The Secretariat will improve the webpage on work sharing and collaborative activities by SCP/24. Patents and Health – ½ day seminar on the relationship between patent systems and, inter alia, challenges related to availability of medicines in developing countries and LDCs, including on the promotion of innovation and fostering of the requisite technology transfer to facilitate access to generic and patented medicines in developing and least developed countries. – Continue discussions on the feasibility study on disclosure of International Nonproprietary Names (INN) in patent applications and/or patents (document SCP/21/9) Confidentiality of communications between clients and their patent advisors – Sharing session among Member States concerning confidentiality protection applied to different types of patent professionals and to national and foreign patent advisors. Transfer of Technology – Discussion on transfer of technology vis-à-vis sufficiency of disclosure, based on document SCP/22/4. The work programme basically retains the five items that have been discussed at the SCP for the last sessions. India supported by Iran and China asked that the summary by the chair under the agenda item on the confidentiality of communication between clients and their patent advisors, be amended to reflect that a number of member states asked that this activity be discontinued from the SCP programme. This was accepted by the SCP and is expected to be included in the final version of the summary. According to several developing country sources, the confidentiality of communication between clients and their patent advisors relates to private law and not international law. A harmonisation at the international level would go contrary to some national laws, they told Intellectual Property Watch. With no prospect of a result in the SCP, developing countries feel that the issue is taking time from other more relevant issues dealt with the committee. The proposal by the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) to revise WIPO model law (IPW, WIPO, 30 July 2015), although not agreed by all member states, is expected to be discussed again at the next session, according to the summary by the chair. DDG Sandage Admonishes Delegates WIPO Deputy Director General John Sandage (Patents and Technology Sector), taking the floor at the end of the session, said to organise the meeting WIPO spent CHF 215,000 (about US$222,000), “which is a considerable sum of money and was a considerable investment.” “I would have to observe that the first half of the first day talking about what you wanted to talk about … and then we spent all of Thursday and Friday talking about what you would like to talk about next time,” he said. “So you spent fifty percent of your time talking about what you want to talk about and fifty percent actually talking about substance,” he added. “I hope that with the work plan that you adopted today for subsequent meetings at the next time you gather … you can begin to focus more on the substance of what brings us together and not spending quite so much time on the process of what brings us together.” “We should not be rejoicing,” a developing country source told Intellectual Property Watch, as another source added that the future work programme was only “the bare minimum” that they could have expected. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."WIPO Patent Committee Agrees On Future Work, After Uncertainty" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.