Perpetual Protection of Traditional Knowledge “Not On Table” at WIPO
IP Watch, 22 October 2009

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Protection of traditional knowledge under intellectual property rights may have a time limit, though determining duration of protection measures will be more difficult than it is with Western scientific innovation, World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry said. “I think perpetual protection is not on the table,” Gurry told journalists on 21 October. There is a conceptual difference in duration of protection, he said. In Western science there is a moment of discovery, a date at from which protection can proceed, whereas traditional knowledge tends to be communal, collective, and passed on from generation to generation, he added. The IGC received its strongest mandate yet at the WIPO assemblies earlier this month, and is now tasked with undertaking text-based negotiations towards an “international legal instrument” for the effective protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions. Read the article …