WIPO Committee On The Protection Of Genetic Resources Meets This Week 16/03/2018 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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)World Intellectual Property Organization delegates will meet in the coming week to try to advance work on the protection of genetic resources against misappropriation. Through its renewed mandate, the WIPO committee is expected to focus on accommodating diverse points of view and try to reach a common understanding on core issues, including what and whom should benefit from protection. Genetic resources The 35th session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) is taking place from 19-23 March. A draft programme [pdf] has been issued by the WIPO secretariat. The agenda for the session is here [pdf]. During the last WIPO General Assembly in October 2017, the mandate of the IGC was extended for two years, after several days of discussion (IPW, WIPO, 12 October 2017). [Update: Ian Goss of Australia has been re-elected as committee chair. Here is a link [pdf] to his Information Note for IGC 35, which describes his work method for the session, along with a detailed draft programme.] The decision [pdf] agreed upon (pp. 11-12) indicates that the IGC is to continue to expedite its work “with the objective of reaching an agreement on an international legal instrument(s) without prejudging the nature of outcome(s), relating to intellectual property which will ensure the balanced and effective protection of genetic resources (GRs), traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs).” It also states that the IGC should build on existing work, “including text-based negotiations, with a primary focus on narrowing existing gaps and reaching a common understanding on core issues, including definitions, beneficiaries, subject matter, objectives, scope of protection, and what TK/TCEs subject matter is entitled to protection at an international level, including consideration of exceptions and limitations and the relationship with the public domain.” Delegates at the General Assembly also agreed that the IGC “may establish ad hoc expert group(s) to address a specific legal, policy or technical issue.” According to the session’s draft programme, this question should be considered on the last day of the session. The IGC is expected to consider the latest version (June 2016) of the “Consolidated Document [pdf] Relating to Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources.” Old Proposals Resubmitted A number of countries, not favourable to a binding treaty, have resubmitted their proposals, such as a Joint Recommendation [pdf] on Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge, tabled by Canada, Japan, Norway, South Korea and the United States. The proposal seeks to establish recommendations to help member states prevent patents from being granted erroneously “for inventions that are not novel or inventive with regard to genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.” The joint recommendation suggests supporting measures, such as the development and use of voluntary codes of conduct and guidelines, and the creation, exchange and dissemination of, and access to databases regarding genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources. Canada, Japan, South Korea and the US also resubmitted a “Joint Recommendation [pdf] on the Use of Databases for the Defensive Protection of Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge Associated with Genetic Resources.” This Joint Recommendation suggests the creation of a one-click database search system, which would help patent examiners conduct searches more efficiently for prior art or reference material relating to genetic resources (GR) and non-secret traditional knowledge associated with GR, “while preventing inappropriate access to its contents by third parties.” The one-click database search system would help prevent the erroneous granting of patents, the recommendation says. Canada, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Russia, and the US also resubmitted a “Proposal [pdf] for the Terms of Reference for the Study by the WIPO Secretariat on Measures Related to the Avoidance of the Erroneous Grant of Patents and Compliance with Existing Access and Benefit-Sharing Systems.” According to the proposal, the cosponsors call for a fact-based analysis of whether disclosure requirements address concerns regarding erroneous patents and misappropriation, and whether disclosure requirements affect the incentive to innovate. They ask that the study analyses: what impact disclosure requirements have with regard to secure compliance with access and benefit-sharing systems; the costs and burdens to national office and jurisdictions resulting from a disclosure requirement; the costs and burdens associated with a disclosure requirements to patent applicants; and what impact disclosure requirements have with regard to the credibility of the patent system among different stakeholders and the society at large. Reports on Studies, Databases, Disclosure Regimes The 2017 WIPO General Assembly decision also requested the secretariat “to produce a report compiling and updating studies, proposals and other materials relating to tools and activities on databases and on existing disclosure regimes relating to GR and associated TK, with a view to identify any gaps.” The decision added that “studies or additional activities are not to delay progress or establish any preconditions for the negotiations.” Following that request, the WIPO secretariat produced a “Report [pdf] on the Compilation of Materials on Databases Relating to Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge,” and a “Report [pdf] on the Compilation of Materials on Disclosure Regimes Relating to Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge.” Image Credits: Flickr – CIAT Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."WIPO Committee On The Protection Of Genetic Resources Meets This Week" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.