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    Experts Work On WIPO Traditional Knowledge Draft Treaty Text

    Published on 21 February 2011 @ 4:27 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    A group of country experts are gathered at the World Intellectual Property Organization this week to elaborate a draft text on intellectual property and traditional knowledge.

    The positive momentum set by the results obtained by experts on traditional cultural expressions last July paved the way for this week’s agenda.

    The Second Intersessional Working Group of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) is meeting from 21-25 February with the aim of producing a negotiating text to be presented at the next full session of the IGC from 9-13 May.

    The three areas covered by the IGC are being discussed in intersessional working groups gathering experts in each of the fields in order to speed up the process towards an international instrument. Those working groups are open to all membership and observers but only one participant from each party can attend, according to a WIPO official.

    The first intersessional working group (IWG 1), held in July 2010, covered the protection of traditional cultural expressions and produced a negotiating text discussed during the IGC in December, and to be presented in May (IPW, WIPO, 11 December 2010).

    The second group (IWG 2) is focused on traditional knowledge, and a third group (IWG 3) will meet next week on genetic resources.

    “We need to roll up our sleeves,” meeting Chair Ian Heath of Australia told the plenary, according to participants. He said the expert meeting is not a negotiating group but that the IGC had given them a mandate to provide expertise and try to develop a cleaner, clearer text.

    The approach taken at the IWG 1, which broke out the discussion among a series of subgroups to look at particular articles, has been successful, Heath said, and he proposed the same approach for this meeting, some participants said.

    The experts are working from a document [pdf] prepared by the WIPO secretariat, which is a revised version of a previous document [pdf], and reflects the comments and proposals made by countries and observers from the 15th to the 17th sessions of the IGC and intersessional commenting processes.

    According to WIPO, structural changes have been made to the document so that its structure is closer to the document recently drafted for cultural expressions.

    The first day and a half of this week’s meeting will be devoted to a read-through of the text seeking comments from the experts in plenary, Heath told the plenary. Those discussions should guide the work of the subgroups, he said.

    This morning experts discussed Article one on “subject matter of protection.” The chair said that in the context of an international instrument, there was a need to acknowledge the breath of traditional knowledge, but also maybe to look at a narrower path for the scope of protection.

    The expert from South Africa said that it would be useful to separate the scope and subject matter of traditional knowledge from the subject of eligibility criteria. Several experts approved this suggestion.

    Article one is “a horrible mess,” said the expert from the United States, calling for a simplification of the text, according to participants. The real concern in article one, he said, was that it was not disclosing the existing tensions on the notion of public domain issue, as the US is keen to protect a robust public domain. He cited the WIPO Development Agenda and its call to “support a robust public domain in WIPO’s Member States.”

    A representative of an indigenous peoples tribes said the public domain was about 40 to 50 years old in the intellectual property system. Things in the public domain “just do not fall into the public domain, they are put in the public domain by law,” he said.

    There is no equivalent to the public domain in traditional cultures, he said. This is an important point, he added, as knowledge placed into the public domain could be accessed without limitation and permission in a manner that disregards customary uses and laws of indigenous communities.

    According to the IGW 2 working document, several points of views will have to be reconciled. Among them is the issue of the public domain, the beneficiaries of the protection, and when the protection should be given to a community or to individuals. Others are prior informed consent of indigenous peoples or local communities before using indigenous knowledge, recognition of customary laws, and the definition of traditional knowledge.

    The recent adoption of the UN Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity [pdf] should influence the debate, according to several sources, as it covers and addresses some of the issues relating to traditional knowledge. It will also apply to next week discussion on genetic resources.

    Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. Tweets that mention Experts Work On WIPO Traditional Knowledge Draft Treaty Text This Week | Intellectual Property Watch -- Topsy.com says:

      [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by IP-Watch, Ipnewswatch, Scott Feldman Esq., Danny Romero, M.O.C. and others. M.O.C. said: Experts Work On WIPO Traditional Knowledge Draft Treaty Text This Week: A group of country experts are gathered … http://bit.ly/fF0fvn [...]

    2. Heike Winschiers says:

      Indigenous Knowledge Technology Conference 2011
      Namibia
      http://www.iktc2011.org/index.html

      Indigenous knowledge systems differ fundamentally from the knowledge systems that underlie technology development. Numerous initiatives aim to enable remote diverse communities to share their wisdom and practical know-how with conventional digital technologies but often overlook the very systems that they use to organize and make sense of the world. Further, many indigenous communities, especially those in rural places, have few opportunities to appropriate new technologies emerging in ubiquitous computing, such as social networks, flickr, virtual and augmented realities.
      To design digital infrastructures for currently unserved knowledge systems we must account for the transformations that occur as technology interacts with the ways of knowing, doing and being that constitute indigenous knowledge systems.

    3. WIPO Traditional Knowledge Experts In Small Groups To Craft Treaty Text | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      [...] I Say, Not As I DoDenying market authorizations, whatever its merit … »Heike Winschiers on Experts Work On WIPO Traditional Knowledge Draft Treaty TextIndigenous Knowledge Technology Conference 2011Nam… »IN on WIPO Proposals Would Open [...]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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