456. At the outset, I would like to wish you and all participants to the TRIPS Council a good health in these very hard times.
457. The overall objective of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) technical cooperation programmes in the field of intellectual property is to contribute to the capacity building of officials from the GCC Members and strengthening their knowledge in many IP technical aspects which are of high importance for the protection of intellectual property rights and support of invention.
458. In fact, the GCC technical cooperation is based on its mandate derived from Article (20) of the GCC Economic Agreement (2001) which states that "Member States shall develop programmes encouraging talented individuals and supporting innovation and invention; cooperate in the field of intellectual property and develop regulations and procedures ensuring protection of intellectual property rights; and coordinate their relevant policies towards other countries, regional blocs and international and regional organizations".
459. Although the COVID-19 outbreak affected all the works and programmes of the GCC Secretariat General, technical cooperation activities continued to be undertaken during recent period with the means at hand and limited programmes.
460. As reflected in the GCC Technical Assistance report for 2020, technical cooperation activities undertaken by the GCC Secretariat General covers the period from 9 September 2019 to 9 September 2020.
461. Technical assistance activities undertaken by the GCC Secretariat General during the said period have been focused on various IP concrete aspects such as enforcement of IP laws, Intellectual Property Rights policies in the GCC region, patent electronic filling, cooperation in IT Systems and support of innovation and invention, etc. These activities was conducted in the form of workshop, on-job training, secondment or through supporting the participation in Conferences or in international IP exhibitions.
462. Cooperation with WIPO continues to contribute to the GCC technical assistance efforts in various IP areas. In this regard, it may be worth to mention that the GCC Patent Office, with the collaboration of WIPO, launches, on 5 December 2019, an electronic platform called "WIPO Publish" which allows researchers form the GCC States to access to all patents granted by the GCCPO and related documents.
463. The GCC Patent Office continues to contribute to building capacity of GCC national Offices in examining and filling patent applications. On job-trainings devoted to this IP area continue to be organized for examiners from IP national Offices. Two secondments extension were undertaken, one year each, for the period December 2019 – December 2020 in Oman and the State of Kuwait respective IP Offices aiming at examining number of patent applications, including applications filed under PCT and sharing knowledge with the examiners of the Oman IP Office.
464. The GCC technical cooperation and capacity building programmes has included also other IP issues such as enforcement of IP laws and Intellectual Property Rights. On 20 October 2019 in Oman, specialists from the GCC Members participated in an important workshop organized on "GCC and EU policies in the field of IPRs" and during which, the GCC Patent Office submitted a working paper on the IPRs in the GCC region.