[Ip-health] WIPO General Assembly 2014: South Africa Intervention on the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP)

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Sep 25 03:22:53 PDT 2014


On Thursday, 25 September 2014, South Africa delivered the following
intervention on agenda item 17(i) on the Report of the Standing Committee
on the Law of Patents (SCP) at the Fifty-Fourth Series of Meetings of the
Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO.

South Africa Intervention on the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents

The South African Delegation attaches great importance to the work of the
SCP and was pleased to see the balanced work program for the next session,
which retained issues such as patents and health, transfer of technology
and exceptions and limitations to patent rights in the agenda of the
Committee. Referring to the issue of patents and health, our delegation
welcomed a session for sharing information on health-related patent

It also welcomes the organization of a seminar on exceptions and
limitations to patent rights, and expresses its commitment to engaging
constructively in the discussion of the Committee.

One should bear in mind that developing patent laws without giving due
account to differences in levels of social, economic and technological
developments would not be in the benefit of all the members states. The
intellectual property rights related to patents have a direct and
significant impact on innovation, economic growth and social development
and therefore requires an equitable balance between the private interests
of right holders and public interests especially in the patent system. Any
legal norm should be seen in the context of its environment.

The South African Delegation would like to stress once more its full
support to the work program proposed by the African Group and the DAG
(document SCP/16/7). The question of effective use of compulsory licenses,
government use, disclosure of International Non-proprietary Names (INNs) in
patent specifications and costs and benefits of allowing Markush claims,
are extremely important especially from the point of view of health and
access to the essential medicines. The time is ripe for SCP to take
concrete steps, with a clear implementation plan in adopting African Group
and the DAG proposal contained in document SCP/16/7.

We also supports the view that the protection and enforcement of patent
rights should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and
the dissemination of technology, retaining the mutual advantage of
producers and users of technological knowledge and in a manner conducive to
the social and economic welfare and in a balance of rights and obligations.

The analysis of the mechanisms of transfer of technology should take into
account also the capacity of Member States to absorb and reproduce
technologies. The Delegation wishes to highlight further the importance of
discussing the anti-competitive practices found in licensing agreements in
relation to the transfer of technology.

Noting that the SCP had started an important and necessary discussion on
various development-related aspects of the patent system, the Delegation
welcomes that positive step and looks forward to a meaningful translation
of those discussions into concrete elements of a work program.

Finally, our Delegation supports the traditional practice of having two
sessions of the Committee per year. It would give the Committee sufficient
time and opportunity to have a full discussion and to make better progress
on the issues on the Committee's agenda.

Thank you

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