WIPO negotiators further develop text on traditional knowledge
WIPO update, 24 April 2012

GENEVA,SWITZERLAND: The 21st session of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) was held from 16-20 April 2012, inGeneva,Switzerland. The session began with an Indigenous Panel which focused specifically on traditional medical knowledge. The meeting continued negotiations on an international instrument/instruments according to the IGC’s mandate, and focused on reviewing draft articles on the protection of traditional knowledge. According to the WIPO Secretariat, delegates made progress in identifying areas of convergence. Following an initial plenary discussion, three facilitators were appointed to revise the text: Nicola Lesieur (Canada), Andrea Bonnet López (Colombia) and Walid Taha (Egypt). Their revised text was then submitted to the plenary for comments and textual amendments. The facilitators then produced a second revised text, which was discussed and noted by the plenary. This document will be transmitted to the WIPO General Assembly in October 2012. In accordance with the IGC’s mandate, the WIPO General Assembly will take stock of and consider the text and progress made, and decide on convening a Diplomatic Conference. The text identifies areas of convergence and issues on which further clarification and discussion are needed. Issues of particular focus during the session were the definition of traditional knowledge and the scope of protection, and identification of the beneficiaries of protection, and exceptions and limitations. The meeting also discussed objectives and general guiding principles for the protection of traditional knowledge, as contained in the text. Following a suggestion by the Indigenous Caucus, the Committee requested the Secretariat to prepare an information document on the practical, procedural and budgetary implications of various proposals for enhanced participation of indigenous peoples, including their possible recognition as a category of participants separate from States and observers.
According to IP Watch, issues of divergence remain sharp particularly on the definition of TK and mandatory disclosure, and some developing countries felt that only limited progress was accomplished while the methodology will have to be reviewed. Read the update … Read the meeting’s decisions … Read the meeting’s documents … Read the IP Watch report of 21 April 2012 …