TRIPS Council to discuss IPR waiver
The TRIPS Council of the World Trade Organization will discuss a revised proposal submitted by 62 co-sponsors, including India, South Africa, and Indonesia, seeking patent waivers to manufacture COVID-19-related medical products. In October 2020, India and South Africa had submitted the first proposal suggesting a waiver for all World Trade Organization (WTO) members on the implementation of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19.
- The agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS came into effect in January 1995.
- It is a multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP) rights such as copyright, industrial designs, patents and protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets.
- According to the revised proposal, the waiver should be in force for at least three years from the date of the decision on the matter.
- The co-sponsors have stated that the duration has to be practical for manufacturing to be feasible and viable. The revised proposal will now be discussed in the TRIPS Council.
- The co-sponsors have stressed that the proposed waiver is limited in scope to COVID-19 prevention, treatment and containment.
- The international community is dealing with a novel pathogen, with many uncertainties.
- 62 WTO members propose 3-yr waiver from IPRs to fight pandemic
- India, S Africa, Kenya, Maldives, Venezuela suggest waiver’s annual review
- Revised proposal may be taken up in the WTO on 31 May 2021.
- Waiver sought for health products & technologies
- New draft retains waiver for vax, diagnostics, PPE, therapeutics, med devices
- Raw materials, components, methods & means of manufacture also included
- Experts caution on reducing 3-yr period, narrowing scope to vax only
- IPR waiver standalone issue, not linked with other WTO issues, warn experts