195. The representative of the WIPO Secretariat recalled that the Development Agenda, agreed upon by the Member States of WIPO in 2007, contained 45 recommendations to enhance the development dimension of the Organization's activities. Key among those were Recommendations 13, 14, 17, 22 and 25, focused on enhancing the understanding and use of flexibilities in the intellectual property system. Since its inception, the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) had met twice each year at WIPO to discuss the planning, implementation and mainstreaming of Development Agenda projects within WIPO's work.
196. As regards the implementation of flexibilities under the Development Agenda, he said that at the fourth session of the CDIP which had been held in November 2009 the Committee had, in the context of discussions on Recommendation 14, requested WIPO to prepare a document on flexibilities in the area of patents. Accordingly, WIPO had prepared a document on Patent-Related Flexibilities in the Multilateral Framework and their Legislative Implementation at the National and Regional Levels (CDIP/5/4 Rev.). At the Committee's request, WIPO had subsequently prepared the second part of the document on flexibilities in patents (CDIP/7/3). In total, those two documents provided information on implementation of ten patent-related flexibilities.
197. At its fifth session, in April 2010, the Committee had requested WIPO to prepare a proposed future work programme on flexibilities for its consideration. At its sixth and seventh sessions, in November 2010 and May 2011 respectively, the CDIP had considered a document setting out a future work programme on flexibilities at WIPO (CDIP/6/10). In response to a request made at the seventh session, the Secretariat had updated the strategy for implementation of the work programme on flexibilities and revised the annex providing details of WIPO's activities in this area, addressing work in the area of patents, and taking stock of WIPO's activities relating to flexibilities in the IP system and technical assistance in the use of flexibilities (CDIP/8/5).
198. He informed the Council of WIPO's implementation of the agreed components of the work programme on flexibilities. Information on IP flexibilities had been incorporated in the WIPO technical assistance programme. The Regional Bureaus and the concerned sectors had been requested to ensure that, at the request of member States, information on flexibilities was appropriately included in the provision of technical assistance.
199. Furthermore, a webpage dedicated to flexibilities in the IP system had been developed and published in English, French and Spanish on the WIPO website.4 As agreed upon by the member States, the webpage contained (i) a roadmap providing guidance on WIPO's work on flexibilities in the substantive sectors and Committees; (ii) a database containing provisions on national legislation related to flexibilities in the IP system, drawn from the agreed documents on patent-related flexibilities in the IP system; and (iii) links to literature and resources on flexibilities produced by the Secretariat and WIPO-commissioned experts, as well as links to resources on flexibilities produced by other relevant international organizations, such as the WTO, the WHO, the FAO, and UNCTAD. In this respect, WIPO was actively collaborating with other international organizations involved in work related to flexibilities in order to gather information and ensure a coordinated and effective provision of resources on the issue to the Member States. WIPO had researched and provided links to the work of such organizations, and would continue this outreach to ensure the most effective use of resources in this area.
200. In addition, steps had been taken through internal communications and briefings to ensure that staff involved in providing technical assistance across the sectors of the Secretariat were aware of this strategy on the use of flexibilities in intellectual property, and continued to integrate appropriate techniques for diffusion of information to Member States. Finally, at the request of member States, national and regional level seminars had been organized and were planned in future activities with a view to exchange practical experiences on the implementation of flexibilities. In this respect, in March 2011, a Regional Seminar on the Effective Use of Several Patent-Related Flexibilities had been held in Bangkok, Thailand, involving participants from 16 countries in the Asia and Pacific Region for discussions on patent-related flexibilities and enabling sharing of experiences on the implementation of flexibilities at the national level.
201. The representative of WIPO said that over time, the joint participation of WHO, WIPO and WTO in a number of activities and their participation as observers in respective meetings of the three organizations had contributed to building up a well-functioning working relationship among the three organizations on issues related to public health, intellectual property and trade. This working relationship, which was supported by WIPO's Development Agenda Recommendation 40 to intensify cooperation on IP-related issues with UN agencies, had matured into the informal and practical trilateral cooperation his organization had reported in earlier meetings. One example of this cooperation in the current year was the Workshop on Patent Searches and Freedom to Operate, held on 17 February 2011, which had introduced participants to the basic concepts involved in carrying out patent searches and freedom to operate analyses.5 Other collaborative activities included (i) the Joint Technical Symposium on Access to Medicines, Patent Information and Freedom to Operate, held on 18 February 2011,6 which had addressed the growing importance of patent information for public health with respect to freedom to operate strategies, procurement of medicines, technology transfer and setting of research priorities and strategies; (ii) the WTO Workshop on Intellectual Property and Public Health, organized in Geneva by the WTO Secretariat in collaboration with the Secretariats of WHO and WIPO from 10 to 13 October 2011; and (iii) work on a trilateral study on "Promoting Access and Medical Innovation: Intersections Between Public Health, Intellectual Property and Trade" that would be combining the three Secretariats' specific expertise in order to support and objectively inform technical cooperation and policy discussions.
202. He said that the agenda of the 16th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP)7 from 16 to 20 May 2011 had included an agenda item on Patents and Health. The delegation of South Africa had submitted a proposal to the SCP on behalf of the African Group and the Development Agenda Group (SCP/16/7). The WIPO Secretariat, as well as representatives from the WHO and the WTO, had briefed the SCP on work being carried out in relation to that agenda item. The topic would remain on the agenda of the 17th session of the SCP.
203. He also informed the Council that, as of 13 October 2011, the Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI) programme of WIPO had become a full member of Research4Life. Research4Life was a public-private partnership between WIPO, WHO, FAO, UNEP, the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), Cornell University, Yale University, and several technical partners, including Microsoft. The goal of the partnership was to enable free or low-cost online access in developing and least developed countries to critical scientific research, with ARDI providing a particular focus on applied science and technology.
204. He drew the Council's attention to the launch of "WIPO Re:Search – Sharing Innovation in the Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases"8 on 26 October 2011. Through WIPO Re:Search, a range of public and private sector institutions had come together to increase the availability of valuable intellectual property assets to the global research community in order to address the challenges represented by neglected tropical diseases, particularly the need for more research. The WHO was supporting this initiative by providing technical advice to WIPO. WIPO Re:Search was founded on the belief that intellectual property and knowledge could be used creatively to stimulate greater investment in research and development for new health solutions. The mechanism worked entirely on a voluntary basis for all participating parties, namely providers and users, and had no impact on any legal instrument. WIPO Re:Search allowed public and private sector organizations to make valuable intellectual property, including compounds, compound libraries, unpublished scientific results, regulatory data and dossiers, screening technologies, platform technologies, know-how licenses and patent licences, available to qualified researchers anywhere in the world seeking to develop new solutions for neglected tropical diseases, malaria and tuberculosis. Licenses for product distribution in least developed countries would be royalty-free.