Invitation to webinar on TRIPS and the life sciences

Thursday 27 April 2017
3-5 p.m. (CEST)
Sign-up & questions:

Perspectives on limitations to patentability
Interpretation of TRIPS art 27

The TRIPS agreement from 1994 provides a central legal framework for the harmonization of the availability and enforcement of patent rights. A central feature of the TRIPS agreement is the requirement that patent protection shall be available for any inventions in all fields of technology. The interpretation of the nature and obligations following from this principle of non-discrimination or technological neutrality enshrined in TRIPS has been at the center of extensive debate and dispute amongst scholars as well as practitioners and international organizations. In the pharmaceutical area, the interpretation and implementation of the principle of technological neutrality in national laws has caused extensive debate.

A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose. However, human ingenuity, consensus based international politics and national interests seem to present substantial challenges to the interpretation of the principles of technological neutrality in the pharmaceutical area.


  • Prof. Nari Lee, will provide a presentation where we will revisit the principle of technological neutrality challenged by technological development and the room for member states to differentiate their patent protection in light of this principle.
  • Dr. Mike Snodin, will look at the obligations under TRIPS in the field of pharmaceutical innovation, with a particular focus on the WHO guidelines for the examination of patent applications relating to pharmaceuticals published in June 2016.

Timo Minssen, Professor of life science law at University of Copenhagen and co-organizer of the event will moderate the session.

About the Webinar series “Reinterpreting TRIPS in the life sciences

The Centre for Information and Innovation Law (CIIL) at University of Copenhagen organize four webinars focusing on issues emerging from the interpretation of TRIPS in relation to the life sciences. The webinars aim to bring together scholars, industry and practitioners in constructive discussion on the pressing legal issues arising at this intersection.

About the presenters

Prof. Nari Lee is a professor intellectual property at Hanken. She has joined Hanken faculty in 2012. She has studied law at Ewha Womans University in Korea and at Kyushu University, Japan (LL.M), and holds a Ph.D from University of Eastern Finland and Doctor of Laws (LL.D) degree from Kyushu University, Japan. Since 1996, she has researched and taught in the area of intellectual property and international trade in universities in Europe and in Asia. Until 2014, she has held the post of an affiliated research fellow at Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law in Munich, Germany.

Dr. Mike Snodin, has a Masters degree and doctorate in chemistry from Oxford University, as well as over 16 years' experience in the patent profession. Mike advises companies of all sizes, from start-ups to multinational pharmaceutical firms. He has particular experience and expertise in preparing, handling or advising upon patents (and patent-related matters) in the chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences fields. Mike regularly speaks at international conferences on a variety of topics, including SPCs, the “Bolar” and research exemptions in Europe and “secondary” pharma patents. Mike is also one of Europe’s foremost experts on Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs). In this respect, Mike has published a number of influential and ground-breaking articles on the topic of SPCs, including articles outlining novel concepts devised by Mike and concerning the calculation of the duration of SPC protection. Two of those concepts have now been accepted by the Court of Justice of the EU, in cases C-125/10 (zero / negative term SPCs) and C-471/14 (use of the notification date of a “centralised” MA).