WIPO Members Begin Work On Single Text On IP And Genetic Resources

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Members of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on genetic resources and traditional knowledge today began work on a single text that pulls together all preceding proposals. The committee is working under a mandate to develop international instruments on the protection of these resources. Meanwhile, the United States and several others have initiated an effort to agree to an “early harvest” of areas of convergence on objectives and principles only. [Update: text added]

The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) is meeting from 14-22 February 2012.

This week’s meeting is solely focussed on genetic resources, which is lagging behind the other two areas, both of which have been working from single texts for some time. Yesterday, a trio of facilitators produced a draft document that encompasses the range of proposals on genetic resources that have been forward in the committee over the last several years.

The draft facilitators’ document as first circulated on 16 February [corrected] is available here [pdf].

The facilitators first circulated the comprehensive text in a tabular format but members sent back to redraft it in a narrative format, which was made available today. The document resembles a very early version of an instrument and is likely to be the focus of discussions for the remainder of the meeting. But new proposals may still be put forward, the chair said.

After an initial editorial check, the committee plans to go paragraph by paragraph through the text, the meeting chair said.

A WIPO official said the committee may make it through a first reading and possibly even a second pass-through before week’s end.

But it was not clear yet how the United States proposal – which has sign on from Japan, Norway and South Korea – will be handled. The US+ proposal is available here.

The United States also is part of what it refers to a “no-disclosure” group that is seeking an option to exclude disclosure of origin from the text.

William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

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