Report of the Harmonisation Committee

Francis LeyderF.Leyder (BE), Secretary

This report completed on 2nd November 2016 covers the period since my previous report dated 12th August 2016.

The Harmonisation Committee deals with all questions concerning the worldwide harmonisation of Patent Law, and in particular within the framework of WIPO.

48th Session of the WIPO General Assembly

The 48th session of the WIPO General Assembly was held in Geneva, from the 3rd to the 11th October 2016. epi was not represented.

The Assembly took note of the report of the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents.

The meeting papers, including the draft reports, are available on the WIPO website:

25th Session of the SCP

The 25th session of the SCP will be held in Geneva, from the 12th to the 15th of December 2016. epi will be represented by the undersigned then by John Brown.

The meeting papers are or will be available on the WIPO website:

The draft agenda comprises the following items:

  • Report on the international patent system
  • Exceptions and limitations to patent rights
  • Quality of patents, including opposition systems

    Sharing session on examples and cases relating to assessment of inventive step

  • Patents and health

    Sharing session among Member States on national experiences relating to use of health-related patent flexibilities for promoting public health objectives or the challenges thereof

Confidentiality of communications between clients and their patent advisors [1]

Transfer of technology

Sharing session on the relationship between patent systems and transfer of technology as well as examples and cases presented by experts from different regions with a view to deepening the understanding of the impact of sufficiency of disclosure on transfer of technology

Proposal of the Group of Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) on the revision of the 1979 WIPO Model Law for Developing Countries on Inventions

Discussions on Substantive Patent Law Harmonisation in Group B+

The meetings of Group B+ do not involve observers, however some documents have been made available on the EPO website during the period reviewed:

Thus, we can report that the Group B+ Plenary meeting took place on 4th October 2016, on the fringe of the WIPO General Assembly. The meeting notes have been published, as well as an agreed statement:

[…] The Group agreed that [the Sub-Group on Patent Harmonisation and its associated workstreams] should continue their work, and that the Sub-Group should continue developing proposals with a view to producing a finalised consultation document.

[…] Group B+ reaffirmed the importance of continued engagement with all interested stakeholders. As a next step towards finalising the consultation document, the Group agreed to hold a user symposium to allow a wider range of users to contribute to the development of proposals.

The Group also addressed the issue of privilege in communications between intellectual property advisors and their clients. [… The] Group agreed that Switzerland should lead a group of delegations to undertake work towards a multilateral solution.

International substantive patent law harmonisation is on the agenda of the next meetings of the SACEPO/Working Party on Rules (16th November 2016) and of the Committee on Patent Law (21st November 2019), in both cases for information.

  1. In this regard, my previous report (published in epi Information) already invited epi members to provide to this committee the references (and a copy) of any court case in which privilege created difficulties, for submission to WIPO and inclusion in the compilation of cases. It would be useful to demonstrate that absence or limitation of privilege can create real difficulties, as some delegations suggested that discussion on this agenda item be discontinued.