WIPO Patent Committee Names Chair, Begins Focus On Global Status Report 23/06/2008 by Kaitlin Mara for 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)By Kaitlin Mara The World Intellectual Property Organization committee charged with discussing international patent law kicked off its first formal meeting in three years today with the election of a Chilean chair and the start of work on a WIPO secretariat report on the global patent system that could form the basis for future work. The WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) is meeting in its twelfth session from 23 to 27 June. Maximiliano Santa Cruz of the Chilean mission to the United Nations in Geneva was elected chair, with Bucura Ionescu of Romania and Yin Xintian of China’s State Intellectual Property Office chosen as vice-chairs. The United States nominated Santa Cruz, with Singapore seconding the nomination and Brazil offering a third voice of support, according to participants. One source said it was understood that either the Latin American and Caribbean region or the Asia region would be in line for the chair. Ionescu struck an optimistic note on the first morning, saying it is “time to move forward with patents.” She expressed a desire for work this week to “move towards more patent harmonisation,” a goal she said was likely to happen “not soon” though she is hopeful it will be “in the near future.” The SCP had stalled in its last formal session in June 2005 when delegates could not come to consensus as to what issues should be up for potential harmonisation of national patent laws. The report on the international patent system was prepared by the WIPO secretariat earlier this year under agreement by the annual WIPO General Assembly, in the hopes of providing a factual basis for discussions. Most delegates seem comfortable with the document as a basis for support, Santa Cruz said in an interview, but said some members think it should be more balanced and others think that it needs expansion. Santa Cruz said some members have called for more issues to be incorporated into the document, notably compulsory licensing (an exception to patent law available to governments, sometimes seen on pharmaceutical patents for public health needs), exceptions and limitations to patent laws, patents and standards, anti-competitive measures, and opposition and licensing. There was some talk about the importance of harmonisation, and most delegates seem to agree that a balanced agenda is needed in order not to repeat past mistakes, Santa Cruz added, a point echoed by several other delegates. Some emphasised the need for balance to be internal to the SCP, and not necessarily in relationship to other forums or agreements. What seems to have generated the most discussion on the first day was how to handle discussions on the extensive secretariat report, with members uncertain as to whether there would be time to discuss all issues mentioned in the 229-page document. Some member states wondered if they were to narrow focus, which issues could be cut out of discussions in favour of others. Xintian said that there are a lot of issues in the patent system to be discussed, and it will be impossible to deal with every problem. But choice is important, he added, and there is a difference of opinions between developed and developing countries as to which are the most important. A balance is necessary, he concluded. Kaitlin Mara may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 "WIPO Patent Committee Names Chair, Begins Focus On Global Status Report" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.