World Intellectual Property Organization

Committee Meetings

August 2008

SCP Agrees on future work

WIPO Member States attending the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) from June 23 to 26 began a comprehensive review of issues relating to the international patent system. Discussions in the SCP meeting focused on a report on the international patent system prepared by the WIPO Secretariat to facilitate the process of establishing a work program for the SCP. The report provides an overview of current international patent issues, and attempts to cover the different needs and interests of all Member states.

The report touches on three broad areas, namely, the economic rationale of the patent system and its role in innovation and technology dissemination, legal and organizational aspects of the patent system and issues that are particularly relevant to broader policy considerations and development concerns.

Many Committee members recognized that the report covered a wide range of issues relating to the patent system and constituted a good basis for discussion. However, mindful of the mandate given to it by the WIPO General Assembly in 2007 and thus working towards a work program, the SCP identified a non-exhaustive list of issues for further elaboration and discussion. The Committee agreed that the report should remain open for written comments until the end of October 2008 and for discussion at the next session of the SCP in early 2009.

The SCP also requested that the WIPO Secretariat prepare preliminary studies on four issues for discussion at its next session. The studies, which are not to be considered prioritized over the other issues identified in the above-mentioned non-exhaustive list, include: dissemination of patent information (including, inter alia, the establishment of a database on search and examination reports); exceptions from patentable subject matter and limitations to the rights, inter alia, research exemption and compulsory licenses; patents and standards and client-attorney privilege.   

The Committee also recommended that the Director General consider including provision in the revised Program and Budget for 2009 for a Conference on issues relating to the implications – including public policy implications – of patents on certain areas of public policy, such as health, the environment, climate change and food security. 

The meeting was attended by 85 Member States and 24 observer delegations and was chaired by Mr. Maximiliano Santa Cruz of Chile.

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Implementation of WIPO Development Agenda Moves Forward

The second meeting of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP), held from July 7 to 11, moved forward in discussing the implementation of the 45 recommendations in the WIPO Development Agenda adopted by the General Assembly in 2007 – 19 of which were earmarked for immediate implementation by WIPO and 26 for which the CDIP is required to develop a work program.

The meeting built on the achievements of its inaugural session in March and agreed on the indicative figures for human and financial resource requirements associated with the implementation of adopted recommendations 2, 5, 8, 9 and 10 in the list of 26 recommendations. The CDIP also discussed implementation of adopted recommendations 20, 22 and 23 in Cluster B of the list of 26. They agreed that the proposed activities, as modified following discussions, would be sent to the Secretariat to assess associated human and financial resource requirements and would be submitted to Member States prior to the CDIP’s third session.

The CDIP also discussed adopted recommendation 1 in the list of 19 recommendations and agreed to the proposed activities outlined in document CDIP/2/2 with some modifications, (see Annex I of Summary of the Chair). Further, the CDIP discussed implementation of adopted recommendations 3, 4, 6, 7 and 11 and agreed to the proposed associated activities, as contained in Annex I.

The CDIP reviewed and commented on activities being implemented under adopted recommendation 12 in the list of 19. It was agreed that the Secretariat would make the necessary modifications and would provide the next session of the CDIP with a progress report on the implementation of these 19 recommendations. The Committee also noted that there was need to coordinate the CDIP’s activities with other relevant WIPO bodies in implementing the adopted recommendations. To this end, the CDIP decided to begin discussions on a mechanism to monitor and assess such coordination at its next session.

The draft report of the second session of the CDIP will be posted on WIPO’s website for comment by Member States and observer organizations and will be formally adopted at the third session of the CDIP in 2009. A report outlining the deliberations of the CDIP sessions will be presented to the September 2008 WIPO General Assembly. The report will recommend adjustments to the revised program and budget for 2009 to allow implementation of agreed recommendations. It will further call on the General Assembly to make resources available in a manner consistent with WIPO’s program and budgetary processes.

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Address by WIPO Director General-Elect

Speaking at the invitation of Ambassador C. Trevor Clarke, the Chairman of the CDIP, WIPO Director General-Elect Francis Gurry emphasized his commitment to the effective implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda, pledging to personally supervise this important initiative in the future.

Mr. Gurry said “I would like to repeat my assurance of the importance which I attach to the Development Agenda. It is a major achievement for this Organization to have adopted by consensus a Development Agenda.”  He said that the Development Agenda is “a major opportunity to address the role of intellectual property in development and the contribution of intellectual property to narrowing the knowledge gap and the digital divide.”  He further added “it is my firm view that the successful implementation of the Development Agenda is vital to the future success of this Organization.”  Mr. Gurry underlined the important challenge of establishing a work program that “ensures an appropriate implementation of the Development Agenda.”

“The development dimension must be taken into account horizontally across the Organization,” he added. Mr. Gurry said that he intended to personally supervise the work of the Development Agenda, “ not only to signal its importance but also because it is appropriate to ensure the coordination of all of the Organization’s activities with respect to the Development Agenda.”

Mr. Gurry, who is currently Deputy Director General of WIPO, made specific reference to proposals that seek to improve access to and efficient use of technological information contained in patent documents and scientific papers by research institutes and universities in developing countries. He further alluded to the need to enhance the infrastructure and capacity of IP offices of developing countries to enable them to participate more fully in the knowledge economy.

Mr. Gurry assured delegations that the appropriate budgetary resources would be made available to support the implementation of the proposals contained in the Development Agenda.

The CDIP was attended by 101 member states, 8 inter-governmental organizations and 37 non-governmental organizations.

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