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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
99.   As noted under the agenda item 1, Canada has undertaken a number of IP-related measures in response to COVID-19. This includes our previously-notified amendments to the Patent Act, as outlined in document IP/N/1/CAN/30. 100.   As well, with respect to IP office measures, pursuant to the Patent Act, the Trademarks Act, and the Industrial Designs Act, the Commissioner of Patents, the Registrar of Trademarks, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, respectively, designated all days in the period beginning on 16 March 2020, and ending on 28 August 2020. The result of designating these days was that, if a time period fixed under the Patent Act, Trademarks Act, and Industrial Designs Act in respect of any business before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) for doing anything ended on any of the designated days, that time period was extended to the next day that was not either a designated day or a day that was prescribed under the Patent Rules, the Trademark Regulations, and the Industrial Design Regulations. 101.   This meant that all such time limits ending on any of these designated days was extended until 31 August 2020. To ensure continuity of service, CIPO's online services also remain available. 102.   CIPO has also launched a pilot programme on accelerated examination of patent applications at no additional cost for inventions related to medical products and processes supporting the response to COVID-19. Applicants can submit a request for accelerated patent examination if: they have a new or existing patent application for an invention that supports the health-related response to COVID-19; and they qualify as a small entity which is a university or a business employing 50 or fewer employees. 103.   Finally, we note that a new "COVID-19 related" category of technologies has been added to ExploreIP: Canada's IP Marketplace, which is a searchable database that showcases an inventory of public sector patents held by government, academia or other public sector institutions. ExploreIP's new "COVID-19 related" technology category will allow IP owners to promote technologies that could help in the fight against COVID-19, as well as help interested businesses find and obtain licenses for those technologies. At present, ExploreIP's new technology category includes 58 COVID19applicable technologies from 11 public sector organizations.
14. The Chair recalled that this agenda item had been on the agenda of the Council's informal openended meeting on 19 June, and the last formal meeting on 30 July 2020. At her informal consultations in September 2020, she had asked Members how they would like to take this topic forward. In response, there had been general appreciation among delegations for the Secretariat's work in maintaining the list of COVID-19 related IP measures on the WTO website, and broad support for a continued discussion and exchange based on this compilation. Some delegations had stressed that the discussion should focus on national measures and their implementation, while others had been of the view that a more substantive discussion was warranted.
15. Considering the broad support, she had proposed to continue the exchange of information at the present meeting. She encouraged Members to reflect on how the Council could take the discussion forward and whether it should keep this agenda item, given the continued interest by Members to continue to exchange views as the pandemic persists. She referred to the compilation "COVID-19: Measures Regarding Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights", available from the WTO website. It was a non-exhaustive list of IP-related measures taken in the context of COVID-19, compiled by the Secretariat from official sources and verified by the relevant Members. The list was updated continuously. She encouraged Members to inform the Secretariat of any measures that should be included on this list, as well as any information on the expiration, or end of application, of such measures.
16. The representatives of South Africa; Chile; China; Nigeria; India; the European Union; Canada; Jamaica, on behalf of the ACP Group; the United States of America; and Indonesia took the floor.
17. The Chair noted that it was important for the Council to provide a forum for exchange as the pandemic continued and that she would like to provide another opportunity to do so at the upcoming Council meeting. She was aware of the sensitivities around "permanent" agenda items, so she would propose that the Council agree to revert to the item at its next meeting, so that the exchanges can once again take place, including on the basis of the updated Secretariat document of COVID-19 related IP measures.
18. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/96, IP/C/M/96/Add.1