Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter (South Africa)

44.   Canada wishes to address questions raised by South Africa at our 30 July 2020 meeting in relation to Canada's presentation of a COVID-19specific measure, as notified in document IP/N/1/CAN/30. As the TRIPS Council may recall, this notification pertains to recent amendments to Canada's Patent Act under Bill C-13 (an act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19). Bill C-13 required the Commissioner of Patents, on the application of the Minister of Health, to authorize the Government of Canada or another specified person to make, construct, use and sell a patented invention to the extent necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. These amendments included safeguards to protect the interests of patent holders, for example, ensuring that a patent holder received adequate remuneration for the making, using, constructing, and selling of the patented invention, placing limitations on the duration of the authorization, and ensuring that the patent owner had recourse to the courts if any person authorized acted outside the scope of the authorization. 45.   By way of update, we report that no authorizations have been issued pursuant to this amendment, and the powers to seek authorization for third-party manufacturers were in place until 30 September 2020, as set out in the original 25 March 2020 amendments. Canada wishes to stress that these measures were in addition to, and at no time replaced, existing pathways for the authorization of the use of a patent under Canada's Patent Act, which remain in place under Canada's domestic regime. 46.   Canada remains committed to ensuring that its IP system supports efforts to address COVID19. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has, for example, launched a pilot programme that allows accelerated examination of patent applications at no additional cost for inventions related to medical products and processes supporting the response to COVID-19. As well, ExploreIP: Canada's IP Marketplace, which is a new online resource for businesses to explore licensing and collaboration opportunities with public sector patent holders, now features a new "COVID-19-related" category to help users find technologies that could help combat COVID-19. Canada looks forward to presenting on these IP-related responses to the pandemic in greater detail, under the upcoming agenda item "IP measures in the context of COVID-19", later in this TRIPS Council meeting.

The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
1. The Chair invited the Secretariat to report on notifications that the Council had received since its meeting in July 2020.
2. A representative of the Secretariat said that the Council had received the following notifications under Article 63.2 of the TRIPS Agreement:
a. Chinese Taipei had notified regulations governing the filing of patent and trademark applications by electronic means, as well as regulations governing the application for compulsory licences for musical works and related royalties;
b. Australia had notified a consolidated version of its Patents Act 1990, as well as the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2020, which implemented the Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures;
c. Mexico had notified revisions of the Penal Code, as well as a Decree amending the Federal Law on Copyright regarding copyright protection in the digital environment;
d. The United States had notified their amended Plant Variety Protection Act and corresponding Regulations;
e. The United Kingdom had notified over 70 pieces of legislation that represent the evolution of the UKs law on trademarks and on designs since 1996;
f. Pakistan had notified its Geographical Indications Act 2020;
g. Myanmar had notified its new Plant Variety Protection Law;
h. Hong Kong, China had notified a Copyright Amendment Ordinance, which enhanced the Copyright exceptions relating to persons with a print disability in order to meet the standards under the Marrakesh Treaty;
i. Ukraine had notified amendments regarding its patent law reform, as well as amendments to strengthen rights to trademarks and designs, and to combat patent abuse;
j. Japan had notified a further revision to its Unfair Competition Prevention Act of 1993, which provided civil remedies against acts of unfair competition with respect to "shared data with limited access"; and
k. Slovenia had notified an Act Regulating Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights.
3. He added that, Albania and Slovenia had provided information on contact points for the exchange of information and cooperation on trade in infringing goods, under Article 69 of the TRIPS Agreement.
4. The representatives of Pakistan; Mexico; Australia; Hong Kong, China; Ukraine; Canada; Chinese Taipei; the United Kingdom; and the United States of America took the floor.
5. The Chair recalled that, at the July 2020 meeting, several questions had been asked regarding legislation notified by Canada and the European Union. She invited those two delegations to take the floor to respond to those questions or inform the Council of any follow up in this regard.
6. The representative of South Africa and the European Union took the floor.
7. The Chair noted that, notifications to the Council were not keeping up with the actual development of laws and regulations relating to TRIPS. She recalled that Article 63.2 was not a one-off requirement. It was a core element of the TRIPS transparency arrangements, and a central part of the Council's substantive work. Article 63.2 obliged Members to notify any new or amended laws in the area of TRIPS. The same applied to the Checklist of Issues on Enforcement which had been established by the Council as an element of Members' notification obligations.
8. She encouraged Members to notify legislative changes made to implement the special compulsory licensing system to export medicines covered by the new Article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement. More than 50 WTO Members, including most of the world's major exporters of medicines, had adopted implementing legislation that allowed them to use the System as exporters and/or importers. However, only 20 Members, including the European Union, had formally notified such measures to the TRIPS Council. The notification of all relevant laws and regulations could assist Members in preparing for the potential use of the System. This would also help the Secretariat in its efforts to provide informed technical support to Members in this area.
9. Finally, she welcomed the information provided by Members concerning their notifications, as well as the constructive exchange on Members' legislation we had under this agenda item.
10. The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
IP/C/M/96, IP/C/M/96/Add.1