Protecting Traditional Knowledge: WIPO Members Back to the Drafting Table
IP Watch, 22 April 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The 24th session of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), held from 22-26 April 2013, is working on draft articles on the protection of traditional knowledge, in particular the provisions on the subject matter of protection, beneficiaries, scope of protection, and limitations and exceptions. Substantial work needs to be done on the draft text, and developing countries generally favor a legal binding instrument while developed countries would prefer a softer instrument. The meeting will also address a joint recommendation on genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge submitted by Canada, Japan, Norway, the Republic of Korea and the US, focusing on the prevention of erroneous patents, as well as 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. IGC Vice-Chair Alexandra Grazioli from Switzerland presented the work plan on Monday, 22 April, with the week alternating closed-door informal drafting sessions and plenary sessions to report on progress.

An informal preparatory meeting convened last week by South Africa in Pretoria, aimed to explore basic issues, such as “what does the protection of IP means in WIPO generally,” or why the discussion on the protection of TK is taking place at WIPO and not in the Convention on Biological Diversity or other organisations. Participants also looked at issues such as whether IP protection is relevant to TK, and whether a conventional IP or a sui generis system is preferable for TK. Read the article … Visit the WIPO IGC 24 website … Download the draft articles on TK [pdf] …