Representatives from member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) met May 10-14 in Geneva to discuss future directions to harmonize patent law. The Standing Committee on the L

LONDON -- Representatives from member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) met May 10-14 in Geneva to discuss future directions to harmonize patent law. The Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) used its regular forum to review provisions of a draft Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT).

The draft SPLT aims to simplify, streamline and achieve greater convergence among national and regional patent laws and practices. It covers a range of basic legal principles that govern the grant and validity of patents in different countries.

According to WIPO, the SCP did not reach a consensus as to the scope of its future work but agreed to continue discussion of the existing draft SPLT text during the present session.

"Discussions brought about greater mutual understanding and movement toward agreement on a number of issues," WIPO says in a statement, "such as the introduction of a grace period, the prior art effect of international applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty that are filed before but published after the application under consideration, and the definition of novelty."

However, WIPO notes that there are still important differences of approach among delegations, and "further reflection is required."

According to WIPO, representatives of 71 member states, seven intergovernmental organizations and 27 non-governmental organizations attended the SCP.

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