WIPO Patent Law Committee Looks At Access To Medicines, Confidentiality 30/11/2015 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 committee on patent law is meeting this week, including a half-day seminar on the relationship between patent systems and the availability of medicines in developing countries and least-developed countries. The agenda also includes two sessions where member states are expected to share experiences on patent examination, and the confidentiality of patent information. Despite divergent views on the use of the patent system, delegates have to agree on a future work programme of the committee by the end of the week. The twenty-third session of the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCT) is being held from 30 November – 4 December. A tentative schedule [pdf] was issued this morning mapping out the week’s work. On the agenda [pdf] of the SCT are two “sharing” sessions. One is on experiences of experts from different regions on inventive step assessment in examination, opposition and revocation procedures. The other is on the confidentiality protection applied to different types of patent professionals and to national and foreign patent advisors. Also on the agenda is a half-day seminar on the relationship between patent systems and challenges related to the availability of medicines in developing countries and least-developed countries. This includes the promotion of innovation and technology transfer to facilitate access to generic and patented medicines in those countries. According to the tentative schedule, the half-day seminar is expected to take place on 2 December. According to the meeting document [pdf], the seminar is expected to be moderated by Zafar Mirza, coordinator, Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, at the World Health Organization. Presentations will be given by four experts, according to the document. They are: Margaret Kyle, professor at MINES Paris Tech; Ellen ’t Hoen, lawyer and independent consultant in medicines policy and law; Andrew Jenner, executive director at JS Consulting Ltd.; and Brian William Tempest, editor of the Journal of Generic Medicines. The WIPO secretariat, at the request of the last SCT meeting in July, prepared a compilation [pdf] of member states’ experiences and case studies on the effectiveness of exceptions and limitations. The secretariat said it invited contributions from countries and received contributions from Australia, Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, and Tanzania. On the topic of limitations and exceptions, still on the table are two proposals from Brazil, one from 2013 [pdf], the other from 2010 [pdf], concerning a potential work programme on the topic. A new proposal [pdf] from the United States is also expected to be discussed this week. The US proposes that the WIPO secretariat undertake a study of “whether, under what circumstances and how the implementation of worksharing and international cooperation programs between patent offices could assist the collaborating offices in conducting more efficient searches and examinations, and in granting high quality patents by leveraging the work carried out in other offices.” Different Priorities on Patent Laws Group B developed countries underlined the sharing session about confidentiality protection as being important, and in particular the cross-border aspect of this issue. Group B however said it is “regrettable that we have only these sessions of experience sharing and not any more items for substantive discussion at this session because of the general and long disagreement on the future work of this Committee.” The Greek delegate, speaking on behalf of the group, called for the SCT to establish a concrete work programme on the issue of international work sharing and collaboration. The European Union concurred and said they are “committed to discussing key aspects of substantive patent law, with the aim of international patent law harmonization.” The EU underlined its “significant advances on the European Patent with unitary effect.” India delivered a long statement, calling for balance in the SCP. “India,” the delegate said, “would like to reiterate that harmonizing of IP laws across countries with asymmetric distribution of IP assets serves the interests of rent seekers who are predominantly in developed countries rather than that of the public in developing countries.” On technology transfer, India said in the absence of an obligation of technology transfer, “the benefits of IP protection would forever elude consumers in developing countries.” “The disclosure in a patent should divulge the technological information in such a manner, so that a skilled person can translate the information into commercial reality without undue burden of experimentation or further innovation,” he said. India did not share the view of Group B on the sharing of work. The delegate said “the quality of examination needs to improve substantially in conformity with policy objective of a country and the sharing of work of other patent offices is not the remedy for improving the quality of patents.” Sharing of work could “weaken examination process and capability of patent offices in Developing Countries,” he said, adding that capacity building among patent offices of developing countries is preferable. Those divergent points of view on what should be considered by the SCP will be the subject of discussions to reach consensus on the future work of the committee at the end of the week. Revision of Model Law, Report on Patent System Also on the agenda this week is a proposal [pdf] by the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries (GRULAC) to initiate discussion on a potential revision of the 1979 WIPO Model Law for Developing Countries on Inventions. A number of developed countries have been reluctant to open this discussion in the past sessions. Today, in its opening statement, the European Union said “Inclusion of discussions on the 1979 Model Law would take us further away from a balanced work program.” The SCT is also expected to consider a report [pdf] on the International Patent System: Certain Aspects of National/Regional Patent Laws. Image Credits: Catherine Saez 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 email@example.com."WIPO Patent Law Committee Looks At Access To Medicines, Confidentiality" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.