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Poorest States Seek More Time on Medical Patents, Members Discuss Women & Innovation

01-Mar-2015 | Source : WTO | Visits : 10691
GENEVA - The least developed countries proposed extending their deadline for protecting and enforcing pharmaceutical patents and clinical data, and delegates exchanged information on their policies for boosting the role of women in innovation, when World Trade Organization (WTO) members met at the Intellectual Property Council on 24–25 February 2015.

According to the WTO, the new deadline would exempt them from having to protect and enforce pharmaceutical patents and clinical data submitted to obtain marketing approval until they graduate from “least-developed” status. The proposal is being made now because a 2002 decision is due to expire at the end of 2015.

Least developed countries also benefit from a general extension of the deadline to protect intellectual property and implement other WTO intellectual property obligations, including for pharmaceuticals. This is now 1 July 2021 under a 2013 decision covering all intellectual property. Because the newly-tabled proposal was not on the meeting’s agenda, but was mentioned under “other business” the discussion was brief, with a more substantial debate likely at the next meeting in June.

The Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) did discuss at some length women and innovation, with members describing the benefits of gender equality for innovation and entrepreneurship — such as producing and marketing products that are more useful — and what they have done to overcome inequality.

Members repeated their different positions on a number of issues. One is plain packaging for tobacco products — this time triggered by recent moves in Ireland and the UK. Another is the question of whether “non-violation” complaints should be allowed for intellectual property.

They also repeated their positions on a group of intellectual property issues related to biodiversity, where some called for the post-Bali work program for completing the Doha Round negotiations to include their proposal to amend the TRIPS Agreement so that patent applicants would have to disclose the source of the genetic resources and related traditional knowledge used in their inventions. And they also continued to differ on whether the Secretariat should update three factual notes summarizing points raised in past discussions, and whether the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) should brief the council.
At the end of the meeting, chairperson Mothusi Palai of Botswana handed over to Mr Abdolazeez Al-Otaibi of Saudi Arabia.

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