Officials Work To Advance WIPO Treaty To Protect Biological, Traditional Resources06/12/2010 by Kaitlin Mara, Intellectual Property Watch 1 CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are 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.Delegates this week at the World Intellectual Property Organization are continuing text-based discussions on a legal instrument for traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions. This week’s meeting is expected to be a stage-setter for the coming year, considered a key one in the ongoing efforts to solve global biopiracy concerns. The Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Folklore (IGC) is meeting 6-10 December, armed with a series of new information documents, the outcome of a special technical session on traditional cultural expressions that delegates must decide how to use, and a related new international agreement on genetic resources.[Update: the Committee has decided to work from the text of the intersessional working group, and has begun substantive discussions. The question of how deal with required reporting on Development Agenda related activities to the decision-making WIPO General Assemblies does not seem likely to take up as much discussion time this week as at recent WIPO meetings, as there are still more meetings of the IGC before the next Assemblies in September 2011, several sources said.]The IGC began substantive talks on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions in December 2009, after agreeing in an eleventh-hour, difficult negotiation that the group would work towards an “international legal instrument (or instruments)” to “ensure the effective protection of” traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions (folklore).These substantive talks continued at the last session of the IGC in May, and updated versions of “objectives and principles” documents on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions/expressions of folklore have been prepared for this session. These are initial runs through the text so they contain a lot of additions, comments and questions on the text which will have to be worked through before any final agreement.A breakthrough agreement at May session also paved the way for three “intersessional” working groups – gathering between the twice-annual regular sessions of the IGC – to discuss technical details of a future agreement in the hopes of speeding progress towards a final instrument.The first of these interesessional meetings was held 19-23 July and resulted in significant substantive work on traditional cultural expressions (IPW, WIPO, 26 July 2010). The next two interesessionals are scheduled for back-to-back weeks in 2011, with one focussed on traditional knowledge meeting 21-25 February and the other meeting 28 February – 4 March. The agenda of the third intersessional is not yet up, but it will presumably deal with genetic resources.The first intersessional group came up with a set of draft articles [pdf] for an instrument on the protection of traditional cultural expressions, though exactly how this will fit into the overall work of the IGC is not yet clear. The mandate of the intersessional working group is to provide “legal and technical advice and analysis” on particular issues, and to “submit recommendations and texts relating to the discussion” at the IGC. (IPW, WIPO, 8 May 2010).Among the recommendations to the IGC is that WIPO prepare a glossary of key terms related to traditional cultural expressions, and to consider whether a similar glossary could be useful on traditional knowledge.There is already a glossary of key terms related to IP and genetic resources [pdf], which was requested by member states at the May session of the IGC.Genetic resources is also a potentially interesting agenda item this week. It is of importance especially to developed countries that there be equal time on the issue during the course of negotiations. There is to date not a secretariat-prepared document on objectives and principles for genetic resources, only a list of options [pdf]. On traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, it is the objectives and principles documents that have provided the basis for text-based discussions.A submission by Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and the United States [pdf] at the May session offered a draft set of objectives and principles but as it was submitted on the second to last day of the committee there was not adequate time to discuss it. However, the secretariat solicited comments from governments and observers on the document, which are available here [pdf]. Three states and four observers provided comments, including Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) jointly with the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA).Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)RelatedKaitlin Mara may be reached at email@example.com."Officials Work To Advance WIPO Treaty To Protect Biological, Traditional Resources" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.