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    Decisive Week Ahead For Protection Of Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources

    Published on 15 July 2011 @ 6:05 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    World Intellectual Property Organization member countries next week will work on draft negotiating texts on the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore. New recommendations by a set of developing countries call for a diplomatic conference in 2013, and for an extension of the work of the committee in charge of reaching an international instrument, as its mandate ends this year.

    The 19th session of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) is taking place from 18-22 July.

    Significant progress has been achieved over the last year, according to participants, as the committee decided to work separately on the three segments of its mandate: traditional knowledge, folklore (traditional cultural expressions), and genetic resources, and asked expert working groups to produce negotiating texts.

    This session is considered to be important, with two key challenges, according to WIPO. One is the discussion on the renewal of the mandate of the committee and the terms of the new mandate if it is agreed to extend it during the upcoming WIPO General Assembly from 26 September – 5 October 2011. The second challenge is to further advance work on the negotiating texts.

    New “Like-Minded” Recommendations

    A new set of recommendations on the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, submitted by the delegation of Indonesia on behalf of a group of developing countries, will also be discussed this week. According to WIPO, it was submitted last week, on 8 July.

    The group of countries designated as “like-minded countries” includes Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand and Zimbabwe.

    The recommendations are the results of the Second Session of Like-Minded Countries Meeting on the Protection of Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (GRTKF), which took place in Bali, Indonesia from 27-30 June.

    According to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “approximately 80 participants, experts and observers from 17 Like Minded Countries (LMCs) in Asia, Africa and Group of Latin America and Caribbean countries (GRULAC)” attended the meeting as well as three international and non-governmental organisations: the WIPO secretariat, the Geneva-based South Centre and International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), a press release said.

    The meeting examined the possibility of holding a diplomatic conference in 2013 “in order to ratify the draft legal texts on the protection of GRTKF into an international legal instrument(s),” the release said.

    The recommendations include the convening of a diplomatic conference, the renewal of the IGC mandate to continue its work, in particular through text-based negotiations to reach agreement on an international legal instrument(s) to be submitted to the diplomatic conference in 2013, and to convene an adequate number of special sessions of the IGC until 2013 in addition to the regular sessions to help with the finalisation of the text(s).

    The Bali meeting also produced three draft texts on TCEs, TK and genetic resources, to be further discussed by the group, and created a draft text on the TK and TCEs issue, bridging differences between the like-minded countries, according to the Indonesian press release. A source from the European Union told Intellectual Property Watch that delegations had not seen those texts yet and this remains a question.

    Committee Mandate

    The current mandate [pdf] of the IGC states that “The Committee is requested to submit to the 2011 General Assembly the text (or texts) of an international legal instrument (or instruments) which will ensure the effective protection of GRs, TK and TCEs. The General Assembly in 2011 will decide on convening a Diplomatic Conference.”

    After the work of the 18th session of the committee, which took place from 9-13 May, a set of draft articles [pdf] for the protection of traditional cultural expressions is available at this session as a working document, so is a set of draft articles for the protection of traditional knowledge.

    On the protection of genetic resources, which was the segment of the committee lagging behind, delegates will discuss a document with a set of objectives and principles [pdf], and a list of options for future work [pdf].

    Negotiating documents on the three subjects covered by the committee bear evidence of active discussions during the May session (IPW, WIPO, 13 May 2011) with an assortment of alternative language. For example, in the draft articles on the protection of traditional cultural expressions, the objectives were left to be discussed at a later stage, and a number of options show in some articles such as the beneficiaries of the protection or exceptions and limitations to the protection.

    On the protection of traditional knowledge, options and alternatives show in all draft articles. Sticking points appear to be eligibility for protection, the beneficiaries of the protection and the scope of the protection. On genetic resources, the draft objectives and principles are still riddled with a list of options in most sections, sometimes six or seven options that will have to be considered next week. In particular, the mandatory disclosure of genetic resources in patent applications, including the country of origin, is one of the major stumbling blocks of the negotiations.

    In each of those three documents, the proposed insertions are underlined, words or phrases proposed by delegates to be deleted or in question are in square brackets, and drafting proposals from observers “which received Member State support are included,” according to WIPO.

    Indigenous Peoples Dismayed at Last Session

    During the last session, the indigenous groups felt that they had been kept by the negotiating governments to an observatory role (IPW, WIPO, 14 May 2011).

    The groups worried that their concerns might not be reflected in a potential international instrument. In order to get their proposals into the negotiating text they have to get them supported by a government.

    Indigenous peoples are seeking acknowledgment of their owners’ rights over their traditional knowledge and ask that any of their resources used must be with their “free, prior and informed consent.”

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

     


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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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