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Archived updates for Friday, June 10, 2005

US Says WIPO Harmonization Talks on "Indefinite Hold"

The failure of the World Intellectual Property Organization's Standing Committee on the Law of Patents ("SCP") to reach an agreement on its work plan for patent law harmonization "puts talks at WIPO on indefinite hold," the USPTO said in a press release on June 9, 2005. "The impasse also raises serious questions as to whether WIPO is even a viable forum for further meaningful patent discussions."

"We are very disappointed with the outcome of last week's Standing Committee meeting," noted Jon Dudas, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property. Lois Boland, Director of the Office of International Relations at the U.S Patent and Trademark Office added that, "WIPO appears to be facing a serious identity crisis, underscoring the need to consider alternative approaches for achieving harmonization so that we can realize efficiencies and better patent quality worldwide. Our users have spoken in no uncertain terms about their need for progress in this area."

Last week's meeting of the SCP, which has been attempting to negotiate a Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT) for years, began and ended with countries generally lined up along "North-South" (developed and developing country) lines.
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