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

World Trade Organization
50.   I thank the Ambassador of Sri Lanka for the interest, and very simply note that the report we just delivered is purely on licensing arrangements and announcements that have been made publicly. The analysis of the patent situation is a parallel task, and I might say, a very challenging one, but I certainly agree with the expression of priority given to this by the delegation of the Sri Lanka, since this is a vital area of information. However, we do not have it today at our fingertips. It is a challenging task to get complete, comprehensive, reliable landscaping of the patent situation for any of these vaccines. It includes the platform technologies, where in some cases there are long-standing patents in place, as well as more specific patents on COVID-related developments. 51.   This is a constant and fast-evolving picture, however, and in the light of the interest expressed, we would certainly like to work with our colleagues in this regard. This is something that would naturally fall into the category of our cooperation with WIPO and with the World Health Organization. We can certainly take up that interest and we would aim to keep Members up-to-date on this with the usual caveats. Despite it being a challenging task to get complete up-to-date information on the broad situation, it may at least be possible in the coming months to develop at least an overview of the situation, if that is useful to Members. So, while we cannot offer anything immediately, we can certainly undertake to get back to interested delegations with an update, in the next few months.
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.