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WHO, WIPO, WTO Workshop on Innovation in, and Access to, COVID 19 Technologies: Intellectual property licensing, technology transfer, and sharing of know-how and clinical trial information

5 October 2021 | Departmental news

On September 27, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) jointly organized a Workshop on Innovation in, and Access to, COVID-19 Technologies. The workshop focused on intellectual property licensing, technology transfer, and sharing of know-how and clinical trial information. It aimed at strengthening the capacity of policymakers and experts coming from WHO, WIPO and WTO members to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This capacity-building activity was conceived to help members update their knowledge and understanding of how intellectual property (IP), know-how and technology transfer work in actuality.

The activity was agreed in a June 15, 2021 meeting among the Directors General of WHO, WIPO and WTO  in which they underscored their commitment to universal, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other health technologies.

In three panels, speakers addressed the following themes: realizing global equitable access for vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and other COVID-19 health technologies; mechanisms and processes to support technology transfer and IP licensing; and enabling factors and policies for technology transfer.

In her opening remarks, Amy Dietterich, Director of the Global Challenges Division at WIPO, highlighted the importance and value of the Trilateral Cooperation among WHO, WIPO and WTO, and the value of the three agencies’ respective expertise with regards to supporting technology transfer licensing for COVID-19 related technology.

Antony Taubman, Director of the IP, Government Procurement and Competition Division at WTO, recognized the urgency and need for progress in access to health technologies as well as a more robust, focused support system.

Gilles Forte, Executive Officer in the Office of the Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products at WHO noted that the pandemic has illustrated the need for coordinated efforts to advance non-traditional mechanisms, such as patent and technology access pools, and to make full use of all mechanisms and flexibilities available to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 200 participants from a broad range of members of WHO, WIPO and WTO participated in this training.

The program, the full summary of key issues addressed by the workshop, as well as presentations shown during the event are posted on the meeting webpage as they become available.