Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore: 24th session
22-26 April 2013 (Geneva, Switzerland)

Focusing on traditional knowledge, the 24th session of the WIPO IGC was marked by intense substantive examination of four fundamental issues: defining “traditional knowledge”; identifying the beneficiaries of protection; framing the scope of rights; and defining appropriate exceptions and limitations. Following a review of the draft articles on TK in plenary, the IGC established an informal expert group with up to six experts per region and two indigenous experts, which worked on the core issues with a view to reducing the number of options and streamlining the text. The improved draft text of an international legal instrument on intellectual property and traditional knowledge, as reviewed by plenary on Friday, 26 April, will be transmitted to the WIPO General Assembly, which will meet from 23 September to 2 October 2013. The General Assembly will take stock of progress made and decide on convening a diplomatic conference. According to IP Watch, most participants agreed that progress has been achieved on cleaning up the text, although consensus has not been met on core issues. Three additional texts that were tabled by groups of developed countries, including two recommendations on genetic resources and associated TK, and on the use of databases for TK protection, and terms of reference for a study on the merits of mandatory disclosure requirements, were rejected by developing countries as attempts to side-track negotiations on the draft articles.

WIPO IGC 24 was preceded by a three-day indigenous expert workshop, co-organized by the WIPO Secretariat and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The workshop provided valuable input to the preparations of the indigenous representatives during the session. IGC 24 then began with an indigenous panel, which focused specifically on the perspectives of indigenous peoples with respect to their right to maintain, control, protect, and develop their intellectual property over traditional knowledge. The WIPO Voluntary Fund for Accredited Indigenous and Local Communities funded two indigenous and local community participants at the session. IGC participants were reminded however by the Chair and the Secretariat that the Voluntary Fund is in dire need of new contributions. WIPO IGC 25, which will address the theme of traditional cultural expressions, and provide an additional three days for stock-taking, will take place from 15-24 July 2013.

Read the IGC 24 update by the WIPO Secretariat … Read the meeting’s documents … Read the meeting’s decisions … Download the revised draft articles on TK [pdf] … Read the IP Watch article of 28 April … Read the IP Watch article of 26 April … Read the IP Watch article of 24 April …