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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli and Ambassador Dr. Lansana Gberie
United States of America

93.   The United States thanks the Secretariat for the informative report. The previous interventions of the US on the agenda item concerning IP Measures in the Context of COVID19 stand. As previously stated, intellectual property plays an incentivizing role in the development of new technologies to combat this deadly pandemic and in supporting economic recovery. In past meetings, the US highlighted the U.S. 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 COVID19 use, and a companion FastTrack Pilot Program for Appeals Related to COVID19. 94.   As of 1 March 2022, 906 applications have been granted prioritized examination status in the USPTO's COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program, and 591 patents have issued from applications granted priority status under this pilot programme. The pilot programme was originally set to expire after the USPTO accepted 500 applications into the programme, but this application limit has been removed. The pilot will include all qualifying patent applications received by midnight Eastern Time on 31 March 2022. Further information on the USPTO's initiatives on life science technologies can be found on the COVID-19 Response Resource Center page of USPTO.gov. 95.   Also, as mentioned previously, in 2021 the USPTO launched a category of its Patents for Humanity Program for inventions that address the COVID-19 pandemic. This new category will provide business incentives for patent applicants, holders, and licensees whose inventions track, prevent, diagnose, or treat COVID-19. The application period for the new category ended on 30 September 2021 and the USPTO is currently in the judging phase of this programme. We will announce winners for this programme by fall 2022.

21. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to this item at its next meeting.
15. The Chair recalled that this agenda item had been discussed in the Council since its informal open-ended meeting in June 2020 and had remained on the Council's agenda at its formal meetings since then. The purpose of this item was to facilitate exchange of views on measures undertaken as the pandemic continued.
16. He referred to the compilation "COVID-19: Measures Regarding Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights" – 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.
17. 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 October 2021 meeting, the Secretariat had presented an updated set of data from different sources under this agenda item. The Chair invited the Secretariat to provide a further update on the data compilation.
18. The Secretariat took the floor.
19. The representatives of South Africa; the United States; and China and took the floor.
20. The Chair thanked the Secretariat and the Members for their statements. In view of the continued interest on this agenda item, he proposed that the Council revert to the item at its next meeting, so that exchanges could once again take place, including on the basis of the updated Secretariat document of COVID-19-related IP measures.
21. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to this item at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/104/Add.1, IP/C/M/104/Rev.1, IP/C/M104