Technical Symposium to Address Access to Medicines, Patent Information and Freedom to Operate

Geneva, January 27, 2011

The second in a series of joint - technical level - symposia organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be held at the WHO on February 18, 2011. This meeting, which will be opened by the Directors General of the three co-organizers – Mrs. Margaret Chan, Mr. Francis Gurry and Mr. Pascal Lamy – will be preceded on February 17, 2011 by a workshop at WIPO on patent searches and freedom to operate.

The symposium on Access to Medicines, Patent Information and Freedom to Operate will address the growing importance of patent information for public health in the fields of freedom to operate strategies, procurement of medicines, technology transfer, and setting of research priorities and strategies. The event will raise awareness and provide insights on the availability and use of reliable patent information in the context of ensuring access to medicines. This follows a Technical Symposium on Access to Medicines: Pricing and Procurement Practices organized by the three organizations last July.

The objective is to highlight the importance of easy access to patent information for providing access to medicines; to show how patent information can be used in determining the freedom to operate for improving access to medicines; to explore what kind of patent information is required for this purpose; to explore to what extent this information is available and accessible; and identify information gaps that need to be addressed.

Participants are expected to be Geneva-based delegations to the WHO, WIPO and WTO, representatives of international and philanthropic organizations, experts on patent information, civil society organizations, and industry representatives that work with or are interested in learning more about health-related patent information. The symposium forms part of the on-going trilateral cooperation between the WHO, WIPO and WTO, which includes the implementation of the WHO Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property.

In addition, on February 17, 2011 a Workshop on Patent Searches and Freedom to Operate will be held on the basic concepts of patent searches and freedom to operate analysis.

Participation is open to all interested individuals and organizations, subject to availability of space. Registration is mandatory for both events. Requests to participate should be sent to Ms Monica Lamonge ( latest by February 11, 2011, including participant's name, position and affiliation together with full contact details, and whether the registration is for the symposium only or also for the workshop. The working language is English.

For more information, please contact the News and Media Division at WIPO:
  • Tel: (+41 22) 338 81 61 / 338 72 24
  • E-mail