What does Amazon making children shows like “Peppa Pig” available for free during the COVID-19 crisis have in common with the current operating status of the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority in Botswana? Well, the answer lies in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO’s) COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker[i]. WIPO has compiled – and will be continuously updating – a comprehensive repository related to the measures adopted by member IP offices, academic institutions, and corporations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Released on May 5, 2020, WIPO’s COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker provides information on the extension of deadlines, legislative and regulatory measures for access, and voluntary actions.

The IP Policy Tracker is the latest initiative by WIPO in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 15, 2020, WIPO launched an online dashboard that allows member state representatives and other stakeholders to monitor the Organization’s operations during the COVID-19 pandemic[ii]. The dashboard is designed to provide a view of the evolution of WIPO’s global IP services and its financial performance on a month‑by‑month basis.

On April 21, 2020, WIPO launched a new search facility for the PATENTSCOPE Database to support COVID-19 innovation efforts. The new PATENTSCOPE search facility[iii] provides dozens of search queries – from artificial respiration and personal protective equipment to diagnostics and medical treatment – specifically curated by patent information experts who have identified technological areas relevant to the detection, prevention and treatment of COVID-19. The search facility allows users to search, retrieve and analyze valuable sources of specifically selected technologies in 10 languages with little language barrier. WIPO also plans to organize webinars to share tips of patent information search on PATENTSCOPE.

The COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker relies on contributions made by IP Offices, member states and other entities for its content. And while it is one of the most comprehensive sources of global policy measures, WIPO states that it is not an exhaustive list of all actions taken regarding COVID-19. Operational status of member state IP offices is provided, as is a more detailed policy breakdown by country. Legislative and regulatory measures for a variety of countries, including compulsory license provisions and hyperlinks to regulatory measures by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), are also provided. Lastly, many organizations, corporations and other rights holders in the private sector are implementing a number of voluntary measures to help ease the crisis. For example, many university libraries and non-governmental organizations around the globe are providing free access to a variety of resources, including textbooks and journals.

So the next time you take a break from homeschooling your children, you can have them read a free e-book from Audible while you get an update on the extension of time limits in Sri Lanka thanks to the WIPO IP Policy Tracker.

[i] https://www.wipo.int/covid19-policy-tracker/#/covid19-policy-tracker/ipo-operations

[ii] https://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2020/article_0006.html

[iii] https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/covid19.jsf

This article appeared in the May 2020 issue of Global Patent Prosecution.