WIPO Traditional Knowledge Committee Opens With Hope For Text-Based Talks 03/05/2010 by Kaitlin Mara, Intellectual Property Watch 2 Comments IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate. Negotiators at the World Intellectual Property Organization this week will address longstanding efforts by many WIPO members to begin in earnest text-based negotiations for a tool to better protect traditional knowledge and genetic resources. The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, Folklore (IGC) meets from 3-7 May. The committee has been mandated by the 2009 WIPO General Assembly to create an “international legal instrument” on the protection of traditional knowledge. The last IGC, in December, closed after the committee’s first substantive discussions in several years, though delegates acknowledged there were still trust issues to bridge before the committee really moves on work towards the international legal instrument (IPW, WIPO, 14 December 2009). One of the key issues this week will be how and when to conduct “intersessional” work intended to speed the committee’s progress. Intersessional work was proposed to help make progress on issues between formal meetings such as this week’s. New on the table at this week’s IGC are a number of documents submitted by governments describing their national experiences on genetic resources and intellectual property. The secretariat has updated a “list of options” [pdf] for handling genetic resources reflecting these national experiences and comments made during the last IGC. This week there are also newly revised “objectives and principles” documents on traditional knowledge [pdf] and traditional cultural expressions [pdf]. This week’s meeting started with an Indigenous consultative forum on 2 May, and opened today with a panel of indigenous and local communities on the topic of “free, prior and informed consent.” A list of speakers for the panel is available here [pdf]. Some developing country delegates have told Intellectual Property Watch they are eager to continue on text-based negotiations, with many hoping for a draft document by the 2011 General Assemblies. At the same time, those who are advocates of strong protection on genetic resources and traditional knowledge are keen that movement in one of the many international fora where traditional knowledge and genetic resources are being discussed does not get in the way of forward momentum in any of the others. Traditional knowledge and genetic resources are also being discussed at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity – where an international protocol on preventing misappropriation of genetic resources is meant to be completed by October, though negotiations are still at a delicate stage – and at the World Trade Organization – where debate over a proposal to modify the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement to bring it in line with the CBD has been ongoing, but slow-moving, for several years. Kaitlin Mara may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."WIPO Traditional Knowledge Committee Opens With Hope For Text-Based Talks" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.