Thursday, April 13, 2006

"It is not time yet for a SPLT"

With those words Ron Marchant, Chief Executive of the UK Patent Office and the acting-president of the Informal Meeting of the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), ended the meeting that achieved no positive result. The meeting was convened with the purpose of establishing a working plan for the SCP, taking into account the discussions of the open forum, which took place also in Geneva during the first three days of March 2006, as mandated by the WIPO General Assembly during its 17th ordinary session (September 26 to October 5, 2005).

The meeting was sharply divided, again, between the position of the Group B, presented by Japan, that proposed that "[t]he SCP should work toward an SPLT prioritizing the issues of:
1. Definition of prior art
2. Grace Period
3. Novelty
4. Inventive Step";

and the position of the Group of Friends of Development, presented by Argentina, that presented a "[l]ist of issues for the work program of the SCP, taking into account the discussions of the Open Forum [which included]:
*Development and policy space for flexibilities
*Exclusions from patentability
*Exceptions for patent rights
*Anticompetitive practices
*Disclosure of origin, prior informed consent and benefit-sharing
*Effective mechanisms to challenge the validity of patents
*Sufficiency of disclosure
*Transfer of technology
*Alternative models to promote innovation"

There were intermediate proposal (I will take about that in future posts analyzing what happened in Geneva), but at the end the refusal of the Group B in treating all the issues with the same standing (without prioritizing their four ones) left the meeting without agreement and the next scheduled meeting (July 2006) suspended.

It's a "long and winding road"...

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