Extension Of WIPO Committee On TK, Genetic Resources Appears Likely

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As the mandate of the World Intellectual Property committee on the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and folklore is reaching its end, diplomats meeting this week seem to be coming to agreement on its extension. Meanwhile, a group of developing countries submitted proposals for each of the three legs of the committee, to be considered as delegates go through draft negotiating texts produced at the last session of the committee.

The first day of the 19th session of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), taking place from 18-22 July, was mostly devoted to future work, according to sources, and it seems that there is an emerging consensus on the need to extend the work of the committee.

The IGC has been mandated since 2001 to come up with a solution to problems of theft of traditional knowledge, folklore and genetic resources, particularly problematic in developing countries.

According to the opening statement of the European Union, the “variety of options and alternatives that still remain in the three last draft texts are a clear indication that more time and work is necessary to complete the challenging and ambitious task of reaching agreement on a text of an international legal instrument (or instruments) for the efficient protection” of traditional cultural expressions (TCEs, or folklore), traditional knowledge (TK) and genetic resources (GRs).

Yesterday, delegates started to go through the text on TCEs.

On Tuesday, a group of “like-minded” developing countries released proposals for the draft articles on the protection of TCEs [pdf], TK [pdf], and GR [pdf].

On 8 July, the delegation of Indonesia submitted recommendations on behalf of the group. The group of nations designated as “like-minded countries” includes Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand and Zimbabwe (IPW, WIPO, 15 July 2011).

Committee Chair Philip Owade of Kenya this week issued draft “selected key issues” proposed for discussion on traditional knowledge [pdf], in particular on the subject matter of the protection, the beneficiaries, and the scope of rights, as well as TCEs [pdf].

Owade also issued a proposed working methodology for the week. [pdf]

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

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