SCP Agrees on Future Work Plan

The Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), which met from February 25 to 28, 2013, agreed on its future work in respect of all of the five issues contained on the agenda of the meeting: exceptions and limitations to patent rights; quality of patents, including opposition systems; patents and health; confidentiality of communications between clients and their patent advisors; and transfer of technology. Discussions leading to this breakthrough agreement were intense, but showed flexibility by all regional groups and countries.

On the issue of exceptions and limitations, the Committee agreed that the Secretariat would prepare two documents for its twentieth and twenty-first sessions, respectively, on how exceptions and limitations contained in document SCP/17/3 were implemented in member states, without evaluating the effectiveness of those exceptions and limitations. In addition, a half-day seminar at each of the two next sessions of the SCP will be organized.

Concerning the topic of quality of patents, the Committee asked the Secretariat to prepare a compilation, based on information received from member states, of work-sharing programs among patent offices and of use of external information for search and examination.

On the issue of patents and health, the compromise achieved by the Committee was to organize, during its next session, a session where countries would share their experiences in the use of health-related patent flexibilities.

The discussions on the issue of confidentiality of communications between clients and their patent advisors resulted in a request to the Secretariat to prepare, for the next session of the SCP, a document compiling laws and practices on, and summarizing information on experiences relating to, the issue as such information is received from member states. In addition, the Secretariat would make a presentation on this issue at the next SCP.

Regarding transfer of technology, the Secretariat will add further practical examples and experiences on patent-related incentives and impediments to transfer of technology to one of its studies on the topic, taking into account the dimension of absorptive capacity in technology transfer.

The Secretariat informed the SCP that its twentieth session had been tentatively scheduled during the week of December 9, 2013.