Practical Workshop for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Intellectual Property and Traditional Knowledge
4-6 December 2013 (Geneva, Switzerland)

The programme of this workshop comprised a set of presentations and case-studies, and encouraged interactive engagement among 14 participants regarding intellectual property and traditional knowledge, and the concerns and aspirations of indigenous peoples and local communities. It was moderated by Professor Rebecca Tsosie (Arizona State University, USA), who is of Yaqui descent. Further information … Download the workshop’s programme [pdf] …

Intellectual Property, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions/Folklore: A Guide for Countries in Transition
WIPO, 2013

This Guide intends to provide information for policy-makers, heads of intellectual property offices, and other decision-makers in countries in transition on issues they need to consider before putting a legal framework on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions in place, if they decide to do so. It aims to raise awareness of existing methods for the legal protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as to improve understanding of the interrelations, at international, regional and national levels, between the intellectual property system, on the one hand, and traditional knowledge/traditional cultural expressions and their implications for economic, social, cultural and technical development, on the other. Read the Guide …

Short Film on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge
Arts Law Center of Australia, 2013

Produced with support from the WIPO Secretariat and the Government of Australia, this short video includes information on WIPO and the protection of traditional knowledge. The video covers various issues of interest for indigenous artists in Australia in relation to intellectual property. Access the video …

Decision: Matters Concerning the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore
23 September – 2 October 2013 (Geneva, Switzerland)

The General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) renewed the mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) for the 2014-2015 biennium, and agreed on a schedule of sessions and a work programme for 2014. Under its renewed mandate, the IGC will continue to expedite its work 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 IGC is requested to submit the text(s) of the international legal instrument(s) to the 2014 General Assembly which will, with a view to finalizing the text(s) within the biennium, take stock of and consider the text(s), progress made and decide on convening a Diplomatic Conference. The General Assembly took note of the possibility for members of the IGC to request studies or provide examples to inform its work, noting, however, that such examples and studies were not to delay progress or establish any preconditions to the negotiations.

The IGC is expected to meet in February, April and July 2014. IGC 26, in February 2014, will be a five-day session on genetic resources, and is expected to be preceded by an Ambassadorial/Senior Capital-Based Officials meeting to share views on key policy issues relating to the negotiations to further inform and guide the process. IGC 27, in April 2014, will be a ten-day session focusing on traditional knowledge and then traditional cultural expressions. IGC 28, in July 2014, will be a three-day cross-cutting session, addressing all three themes, which will take stock of progress made and make a recommendation to the General Assembly in September 2014.

Despite agreement on the IGC mandate and other issues including the convening of a diplomatic conference for the adoption of a revised Lisbon Agreement on appellations of origin and geographical indications in 2015, Member States were unable to agree on WIPO’s programme and budget, including the establishment of new external offices, and some other issues. An extraordinary meeting is expected to convene in December 2013, to conclude outstanding items before the end of the current biennium.

Download the decision on the IGC mandate [pdf] … Read WIPO’s press release on the Assemblies … Read an IP Watch article of 3 October 2013 …

The Guide for the Perplexed Entering the Maze of Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore
Anne Gut and Bruno Vitale, September 2013

Authored by two scientists and published under a Creative Commons license, this unusual e-book aims to help “readers/fellow-travellers” to “find a useful and interesting exploratory path through … the huge and ill-defined genetic resources and traditional knowledge and folklore space” and “to find a satisfactory way out of it, at the end.” The authors note they do not imply that the only way to visit and explore these issues is theirs; but they “immodestly believe that the exploratory trip” they propose “will be more amusing and, being less serious, more intensely useful.” Following an introduction to the guide and the methodology used, chapters explore: the present situation, IPRs on one side, TK on the other side; the origins and motivations at the roots of WHO’s involvement in traditional medical knowledge (TMK); TMK in all of its glory and obscurities; loss of control on the TMK methodological paradigm; from TMK to GRTKF and perhaps GRTKFR; alternatives to IPRs?; and conclusions. The authors can be contacted at twokamikaze2@yahoo.com. Download the e-book [doc] … Read an IP Watch article on the e-book …

WIPO Assembly Approves New Work Mandate on GR, TK Protection
IP Watch, 30 September 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly renewed the mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC). The full membership approved a deal reached on the renewal of the mandate and details of the IGC work programme in an informal session on 27 September. According to the document adopted by the Assembly, the WIPO IGC should report to next year’s General Assembly so that it can take stock of progress made in 2014 and decide on convening a diplomatic conference. It is still unclear whether there will be one instrument for all subjects or three separate ones. Whether it will be considered legally binding or not also remains in question. Member States’ statements reaffirmed their positions and their divergences. Read the article …

WIPO General Assembly Opens With Loaded Agenda
IP Watch, 23 September 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Held from 23 September to 2 October 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly opened with an unusual number of issues for delegates to solve, in particular those inherited from the committee in charge of approving the budget and the programmes of the organisation earlier in the month. Among pressing issues are WIPO external offices and decisions to be made on potential treaties such as on industrial designs, the protection of broadcasting organisations, and the protection of genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Referring to ongoing negotiations under the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions (IGC), WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said that “it is of the utmost importance to bring this work to a satisfactory conclusion.” However, controversies remain regarding holding a diplomatic conference in the next biennium and whether negotiations should aim to a legally binding instrument(s) or not.

In related news, the WIPO Secretariat has made available for comments the initial draft report of IGC 25. The deadline for submission of comments is 15 October 2013.

Read the IP Watch article … Read WIPO’s opening press release … Download the report of the WIPO Director General to the Assemblies [pdf] … Read the IGC 25 initial draft report …

Developing countries seek legally binding instrument
The Jakarta Post, 4 September 2013

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Like-minded developing countries urge advanced countries to show political will and expedite the negotiation process to draft a legally binding instrument for the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore in the framework of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This week, a three-day consultative meeting is being held in Bali, aimed at bridging differences before the WIPO General Assembly to be held in September 2013, and facilitate negotiations on the future work of the Intergovernmental Committee. Read the article …

Practical workshop for Indigenous Peoples and local communities on IP and traditional knowledge
4-6 December 2013 (Geneva, Switzerland)

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will organize a practical workshop for indigenous peoples and local communities on intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, from 4-6 December 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland. The workshop aims to: impart basic knowledge of the main principles of the intellectual property (IP) system from a traditional knowledge (TK) perspective, emphasizing both the potential value that IP could bring in support of TK protection and the gaps within the IP system that might need to be filled; explain the rationale, objectives and methodology of the negotiations that are taking place in the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore; and raise awareness of the available IP tools and WIPO materials that are relevant to the protection of TK.

The workshop is open to fourteen participants (two for each of the seven geo-cultural regions recognized by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues), who will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • be an active member of an indigenous peoples’ organization/NGO or local community;
  • be nominated in writing by his/her indigenous peoples’ organization/NGO or community;
  • have suitable experience in international meetings and processes;
  • be able to speak either English, Spanish, French or Russian;
  • have motivated his/her interest in participating in the practical workshop; and,
  • have formulated his/her readiness to share information gathered and experiences gained at the Workshop.

Indigenous peoples and local communities members who wish to participate in the workshop need to submit an application form to the WIPO Traditional Knowledge Division by 15 September 2013. The selected participants will be provided with economy class air travel to and from Geneva, Switzerland and a daily stipend for the duration of the workshop. Read the WIPO announcement on the workshop … Download the application form [doc] … Read an IP Watch comment on the workshop …

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