The TRIPS Council of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) 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, an official said.
In October 2020, India and South Africa had submitted the first proposal suggesting a waiver for all World Trade Organisation (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 revised proposal will now be discussed in the TRIPS Council,” the official added.
The revised text has proposed waiver for health products and technologies as the prevention, treatment or containment of Covid-19 which involves a range of things and “intellectual property issues may arise with respect to the products and technologies, their materials or components, as well as their methods and means of manufacture”.
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. Investigation is still underway for effective therapeutics, and there are still many unknowns with respect to vaccines which will have a bearing on manufacturing and supply,” the submission has said.