Committee Meeting: SCP to Intensify Work on Several Patent-Related Issues

June 2009

The Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) agreed on March 27, at the close of its week-long meeting, on a range of work items that will continue to clarify and focus attention on key substantive issues relating to patent law and practice.

The Committee reaffirmed that the non-exhaustive list of issues identified at its June 2008 meeting would remain open for further elaboration and discussion at its next session, scheduled for November 9 to 13. It also decided to include two further issues in the list, namely “patents and the environment, with a particular attention to climate change and alternative sources of energy” and “patent quality management systems.”

SCP members agreed that the four preliminary studies on standards and patents, exclusions from patentable subject matter and exceptions and limitations to the rights, the client-attorney privilege and dissemination of patent information which had been the subject of the discussions, would remain open for further comments at its next meeting. In summarizing the work of the Committee, the Chair said that the SCP agreed to ask the Secretariat to:

  • commission external experts to prepare a study on exclusions, exceptions and limitations focused on, but not limited to, issues suggested by members, such as public health, education, research and experimentation and patentability of life forms, including from a public policy, socio-economic developmental perspective bearing in mind the level of economic development;
  • prepare a concept paper on technical solutions to improve greater access to, and dissemination of, patent information;
  • expand the preliminary study on the client-attorney privilege to reflect the current state of play taking into account the perspective of various stakeholders and using external experts, if necessary; and
  • establish preliminary studies on “Transfer of Technology” and “Opposition Systems”. 

It was also agreed that the Secretariat would present the studies to Member States at the beginning of the SCP’s November session.

A number of member States stressed the importance of encouraging broad engagement in the work of the Committee and requested availability of all studies in the six official UN languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. At present, SCP documents are prepared in English, French and Spanish. Delegates further expressed their support for a Conference (see the announcement on the inside cover of this issue) to be held on July 13 and 14 as suggested by the SCP at its June 2008 session.

Delegations from 103 countries, 10 international organizations and 28 non-governmental organizations participated in the Committee which was chaired by Mr. Maximiliano Santa Cruz from Chile.

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