WIPO SCP22: KEI statement on GRULAC proposal (SCP/22/5)

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) delivered the following intervention on 29 July 2015 during WIPO discussions on the proposal by the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC) to revise the 1979 WIPO Model Law for Developing Countries on Inventions.

KEI statement on GRULAC proposal (SCP/22/5)
WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP)
29 July 2015

Proposal: Engage Member States in the Revision of the 1979 WIPO Model Law for Developing Countries on Inventions

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) encourages the WIPO SCP to engage and support the GRULAC proposal, SCP/22/5, on the Revision of the 1979 WIPO Model Law for Developing Countries on Inventions.

The GRULAC proposal to produce a revised WIPO Model Law for the post-TRIPS context is a serious effort to improve technical assistance, and to take stock of and shape new global norms regarding patents.

We live in a post TRIPS world with countless bilateral and regional trade agreements featuring obligations relevant to patent law. The proposal challenges WIPO and its members to provide more concrete implementation of promises and obligations for technology transfer, development, and access to medical technologies, in the context of other obligations that may be relevant in trade agreements.

GRULAC has proposed a transparent and inclusive process, that will be a welcome alternative to secretive and non-inclusive regional and bilateral trade agreement norms on patent policy.

GRULAC requests the SCP to recommend allocating the funds necessary to carry out a “Revision of the 1979 WIPO Model Law for Developing Countries on Inventions” in the 2016-2017 Program and Budget and to prepare for SCP 23 a proposal for consideration of Member States on the terms of reference and modalities that such a revision could follow.” Perhaps this process could begin with a scoping study to ascertain the feasibility of producing an update of the 1979 WIPO Model Law, and propose topics that such a Model Law could address.

In the 1970s revision, WIPO, after consultation with interested governments, appointed experts (who acted in their personal capacity) to serve on the Working Group that drafted the 1979 Model Law. The experts came from governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations.

The 1979 Model Law included 12 chapters and 164 sections, covering a very wide range of topics, including, for example, novelty, inventive step and industrial application, both voluntary and nonvoluntary licenses and government use, ownership of patents, fees, remedies for infringement, and addressed dozens of other issues.

A revision of the 1979 Model Law should not only include revisions of the topics covered in those 164 sections, but also address new issues. As a soft instrument, making proposals without binding obligations, the new model law could be more innovative than a text bound by the contours of existing state practice.