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

United States of America
27.   The previous interventions of the United States on agenda item concerning IP Measures in the Context of COVID-19 stand. As stated previously, intellectual property plays an incentivizing role in the development of new technologies to combat this deadly pandemic and in supporting economic recovery. 28.   In past meetings, the United States highlighted the US Patent and Trademark Office COVID19 pilot programme which prioritizes examination of certain patent applications claiming a product or process subject to an applicable FDA approval for COVID–19 use. As a companion to the COVID19 prioritized examination program, the USPTO initiated on April 15 a Fast-Track Pilot Program for Appeals Related to COVID-19. Under this initiative, an appellant may have certain COVID-19-related ex parte appeals before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and will be accorded fast-track status without requiring a petition fee. 29.   The aim is to issue a final decision of appeals in this programme within six months if the petition is granted and the COVID-19-related appeal is entered into the pilot program. Together, the COVID19 prioritized examination and the Fast-Track appeals programme will help avoid delays in the implementation of innovative tools for use against COVID-19. Further information on the USPTO's initiatives on life science technologies can be found on the 30.   Separately, the USPTO recently launched a category of its Patents for Humanity Program for inventions that address the COVID-19 pandemic. This will provide business incentives for patent applicants, holders, and licensees whose inventions track, prevent, diagnose, or treat COVID-19. 31.   Patents for Humanity Award winners receive a certificate to accelerate USPTO processing for one eligible matter (such as an ex parte re-examination proceeding or a patent application), as well as public recognition of innovation that benefits humanity. Award winners may also transfer their acceleration certificates to third parties, including for compensation, and can leverage the acceleration certificate to obtain funds to help commercialize their inventions, transforming innovative ideas into deliverable goods and services. 32.   For more information about the program, please visit the on the USPTO website.
14. The Chair recalled that this agenda item had been discussed in the Council since its informal open-ended meeting on 19 June 2020 and had been on the Council's agenda at its formal meetings since then. In light of the broad support for a continuation of these exchanges at the preceding meetings, the item was once again on the agenda to facilitate exchange of views on measures undertaken as the pandemic persists.
15. As one basis for the Council's exchange, he referred to the compilation "COVID-19: Measures regarding trade-related intellectual property rights" that was available from the WTO website and contained 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 Members concerned. This list was updated continuously, even if the rate at which new measures are brought to our attention had slowed considerably since the last meeting. He encouraged Members to inform the Secretariat of any measures that should be included on this list, as well as any update or information on the expiry, or end of application, of such measures. He invited Members to inform the Council on their measures.
16. He suggested that, on this occasion, this item also be used to hear from the Secretariat regarding other information it had been asked to compile. He recalled that in earlier meetings of the Council, and in the General Council, a number of Members had asked the Secretariat to provide and compile data on the number of voluntary license agreements regarding COVID-19 vaccine production over time, and on the projected and observed volume of vaccine dose production under these agreements. Given that this request also related to information compiled by the Secretariat the Chair suggested that this be dealt with under this item. It was his understanding that the Secretariat had circulated an initial set of data in a room document RD/IP/43 and would be ready to provide a short introduction to this document.
17. The representatives of Chile; the United States; and China took the floor.
18. The Secretariat took the floor to present documents RD/IP/43 and RD/IP/44.
19. The representatives of Sri Lanka and South Africa took the floor.
20. The Chair thanked the Secretariat for the information presented and said that an update of such information would be appreciated and would contribute to the deliberations of the Council.
21. The Chair proposed that, in view of the continued interest on this agenda item, 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.
22. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to this item at its next meeting.