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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
European Union
3 IP MEASURES IN THE CONTEXT OF COVID-19
37.   I have to mention and to inform about certain IP measures taken at EU Members level, I would start with Latvia. Latvia 38.   The amendments to Regulations No. 723 of the Cabinet of Ministers On the Price List of Paid Services of the Patent Office enabled owners of industrial property rights at no additional cost to extend deadlines, renew rights or continue proceedings in the case of non-observance of time limits. The amendments were initiated due to information received from the owners of industrial property rights who do not reside in Latvia and could not meet the set deadlines. 39.   The amendments were useful during the time of many COVID-related travel restrictions since the majority of the owners of industrial property rights are persons or companies abroad without a declared or legal address in Latvia. The Latvian Patent Office could withdraw a fee for these services if an owner of industrial property rights could not observe time limits due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Advantages for COVID-19 affected persons were into force till 6 August 2021. Hungary 40.   The Hungarian public health compulsory licensing framework was modified with Decree Nr 212/2020 of 16 May 2020 on public health compulsory licences for exploitation within Hungary, under special legal order. Since the special legal order was terminated on 18 June 2020, the Government Decree ceased to have effect on that day. 41.   The new regulations were incorporated into the Hungarian Patent Act. Both the Government Decree and the new regulations in the HPA were properly notified to the TRIPS Council. Italy 42.   Law no. 108 of 29 July 2021 amended the Industrial Property Law as to the compulsory licensing mechanism, by introducing Article 70 which provides for granting compulsory licences in the event of a national emergency for health reasons, in compliance with international and European obligations, by decree of the Minister of Health, in agreement with the Minister of Economic Development. Effective on 31 July 2021. 43.   The Italian Patent and Trademark Office has extended the deadlines for administrative proceedings for trademarks, patents, designs and models. On 15 May 2020 as regards the suspension of the terms of pending administrative proceedings (Decree-Law no. 23 of 8 April 2020) and on 31 October 2020 as regards the payment of expiring industrial property titles. Greece 44.   All time limits set by Law or by the Hellenic Industrial Property Organisation (OBI) related to the filing of patent applications, industrial design applications, supplementary protection certificate applications and topographies of semiconductor products as well as to grant proceedings, excluding time limits related to the payment of fees, have been suspended as of 11 March 2020 until 12 June 2020. The suspension of time limits was granted pursuant to a) Article 38 paragraph 5 of Legislative Act of 20 March 2020. 45.   Physical presence of the public at the Hellenic Industrial Property Organization (OBI) was suspended during 23 March until 10 June 2020. Communication via phone or electronic means was encouraged.
14. The Chair recalled that this agenda item had been discussed in the Council since its informal open-ended meeting in June 2020 and had been on the Council's agenda at its formal meetings since then. In light of broad support – in principle – for a continuation of these exchanges at the Council's last meetings, the item was on the agenda to facilitate exchange of views on measures undertaken as the pandemic persists.
15. He referred to the compilation "COVID-19: Measures Regarding Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights" that was available from the WTO website, which 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 the attention of the Secretariat was slowing down. He thanked those Members that had informed the Secretariat of measures that should be included in this list, as well as any update or information on the expiry – or end of application – of such measures, and encouraged others to do the same.
16. The Chair recalled that in earlier meetings of the Council and at 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. At the Council's June 2021 meeting, the Secretariat had presented an initial set of data from different sources under this agenda item. The Chair invited the Secretariat to provide an update on the data compilation.
17. The Secretariat took the floor to present document RD/IP/45.
18. The representatives of the European Union; the United States; Switzerland and South Africa took the floor.
19. The Chair thanked the Secretariat. In view of the continued interest on this agenda item, he proposed 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.
20. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to this item at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/103, IP/C/M/103/Add.1