Member States Review Options for Future Work of the SCP

Geneva, June 6, 2005
Press Updates UPD/2005/250

Member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) met in Geneva on June 1-3, 2005, to discuss the future work the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) in respect of the international harmonization of substantive patent law. The Committee was attended by representatives from 80 member states, 7 intergovernmental organizations and 21 non-governmental organizations.

Past work of the SCP has focussed mainly on the so-called draft Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT), which covers a range of basic legal principles that govern the grant and validity of patents in different countries, such as the criteria for assessing whether an invention is novel and involves an inventive step, whether it is industrially applicable (or has utility) and whether it is sufficiently described in the patent application concerned, and how patent claims should be drafted and interpreted.

This meeting of the SCP was devoted solely to the consideration of options for the future work of the Committee. Talks focussed on whether discussions should be limited to six issues pursued in parallel processes (prior art, grace period, novelty, inventive step, sufficiency of disclosure and genetic resources) - whereby the first four would be considered in the SCP and the latter two in the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) - or whether the draft SPLT should be discussed as a whole, and also include further issues, inter alia, clauses on public interest flexibilities, transfer of technology and the disclosure, in patent applications, of the source of genetic resources.

While delegations recognized the importance of the work of the SCP and emphasized that the work on patent law harmonization should progress taking into account the interests of all parties, they did not reach agreement as to the modalities and scope of the future work of the Committee.

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