Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP)

The SCP was created in 1998 to serve as a forum to discuss issues, facilitate coordination and provide guidance concerning the progressive international development of patent law. By dealing with clusters of interlocking issues rather than working in isolation on single issues, it is intended to provide member states with an effective mechanism for setting priorities and allocating resources, and ensure the coordination and continuity of interrelated, on-going work.

The Committee is composed of all member states of WIPO and/or of the Paris Union. As observers, certain member states of the UN, who are not members of WIPO and/or the Paris Union, as well as a number of accredited intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations also participate in the SCP.

Delegates in discussion at the SCP
Delegates in discussion at the SCP (Photo: WIPO). More SCP photos on Flickr

Electronic Forum

The Electronic Forum was established in 1998 in order to accelerate the deliberations and discussions of the SCP. It enables the electronic distribution, and submission by e-mail of comments concerning, preliminary draft working documents and draft reports.  The Electronic Forum is open to all States members of the SCP and all interested States, international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations which have observer status in the SCP.




Following the discussions within the Committee of Experts on the Patent Law Treaty, which had started in 1995, the SCP negotiated the draft Patent Law Treaty (PLT) and its regulations on patent formalities and procedures. The PLT was adopted by the Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of the Patent Law Treaty on June 1, 2000.

Find out more about the PLT.


Discussions on the draft Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT) started at the fifth session of the SCP in May 2001. While discussions on the draft SPLT led to some agreement in principle among delegations on a number of issues, other topics have generated more difficulties in terms of reaching agreement. As a result, the SPLT negotiations were put on hold in 2006.

Recent developments

Since the negotiations on the draft Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT) were put on hold in 2006, the main focus of the work of the SCP has been on building a technical and legal resource base from which to hold informed discussions in order to develop a work program. Therefore, a series of documents elaborating various aspects of patent law were produced and discussed at the subsequent sessions of the SCP.

At the twelfth session in 2008, the Report on the International Patent System PDF, Report on the International Patent System 2008, focusing on the economic rationale, legal and organizational aspects as well as policy considerations and development concerns of the patents system, was discussed for the first time and a non-exhaustive list of issues PDF, SCP: non-exhaustive list of issues was identified by the Committee for further elaboration and discussion at its future sessions. At its thirteenth session, the SCP discussed preliminary studies on the following issues:

At its fifteenth session in 2010, in addition to the above preliminary studies, a study prepared by external experts on exclusions from patentable subject matter and exceptions and limitations to the rights was presented. The SCP agreed that the agenda of its sixteenth session would include five issues that have been under discussion since then, namely: