WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore: 23rd session
4-8 February 2013 (Geneva, Switzerland)

WIPO IGC-23 resulted in further streamlining the draft text of an international legal instrument on intellectual property and genetic resources, which will be submitted to the WIPO Geneval Assembly, to be held from 23 September – 2 October 2013. However, several brackets remain indicating delegates’ divergent opinions on key issues under negotiation.

The approximately 10-page streamlined text covers issues including: definition of main terms; policy objectives; subject matter of protection; beneficiaries; the scope of the instrument; sanctions and remedies; and international cooperation. The text bears a large number of brackets, indicating divergent opinions on issues such as mandatory disclosure of origin versus defensive protection, derivatives of genetic resources, the scope of the instrument, and the relationship with other international agreements, particularly the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR).

Four new documents were submitted shortly before or during the session: an information document from Norway on the disclosure requirement in Norwegian law; a joint recommendation on genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, submitted by Canada, Japan, Norway, the Republic of Korea and the US; a proposal for terms of reference for a study by the WIPO Secretariat on measures related to the avoidance of the erroneous grant of patents and compliance with existing ABS systems, submitted by Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US; and a joint recommendation on the use of databases for the defensive protection of genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, submitted by Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US.

In accordance with its mandate, the IGC conducts text-based negotiations with the objective of reaching agreement on a text(s) of an international legal instrument(s) which will ensure the effective protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. The WIPO General Assembly will take stock of progress made and decide on convening a Diplomatic Conference. According to the 2013 work programme, the next IGC session, scheduled 22-26 April 2013, will focus on traditional knowledge, while IGC 25, to be held from 15-24 July 2013, will address traditional cultural expressions. In addition, the final session will further review and take stock of all the texts(s) of the international legal instrument(s), and make a recommendation to the WIPO General Assembly.

Read the TK Bulletin post of 6 February providing a mid-week update … Read the final update by the WIPO Secretariat … Download the IGC 23 decisions [pdf] … Visit the meeting’s website, including links to documents … Read the IP Watch update of 8 February … Read the final article on IGC 23 by IP Watch