Workshop on understanding the IPR-related landscape for graduating least developed countries - Issues and challenges

31 October 2022
09:30 - 16:00 hrs. Salle XXII, Palais des Nations
, Switzerland

Joint Commonwealth/UNCTAD Technical Workshop

The world’s least developed countries (LDCs) enjoy flexibilities through a waiver exempting them from implementing most elements of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In addition, a special transition period — currently running to 1 January 2033 — has been granted to the pharmaceutical industry, which exempts LDCs from protecting patents and undisclosed information for pharmaceutical products. It also enables manufacturers of pharmaceuticals in LDCs to export patented products to other countries where the existing patent has expired or is absent. Moreover, manufacturers of generics in LDCs are exempted from paying royalties for patented medicines.

However, LDCs lose access to these manifold benefits when they exit the category. Graduating LDCs are no longer eligible for TRIPS waivers and flexibilities and must implement all substantive provisions of the Agreement. They are also required to introduce provisions for patents to pharmaceutical products and processes. For LDCs with pharmaceutical industries, this may negatively affect their ability to produce and import generic versions of patented medicines.

The loss of these benefits can pose significant challenges for LDCs after graduating, while also potentially exposing major gaps in their awareness of post-graduation IPR requirements and their capacity to implement them.

This workshop will take stock of the current IPR landscape for LDCs, highlight persistent, new and emerging IPR-related challenges confronting these countries, unpack IPR-related compliance obligations and flexibilities for graduating LDCs, and identify strategies and special support measures to help unlock IPR-related benefits and opportunities.

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12 Oct 2022

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Commonwealth Secretariat

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Ms. Lisa Borgatti
Economic Affairs Officer
+41 22 917 1169