WIPO IGC Addresses Traditional Cultural Expressions

July 2012: The Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) continued negotiations on the latest draft text of an international legal instrument on the protection of traditional cultural expressions. The IGC met from 9-13 July 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to the WIPO Secretariat, progress was achieved on the definition of protectable traditional cultural expressions, identification of the beneficiaries, and exceptions and limitations to the scope of protection. The IGC established an informal expert group that worked to reduce the number of options in the text, which comprised around 36 experts, with up to five experts per region nominated by States, as well as an indigenous expert nominated by indigenous peoples participating in the session.

The resulting text will be transmitted to the WIPO General Assembly, which will meet from 1-9 October 2012, as "work in progress," along with texts on genetic resources and on traditional knowledge, representing the outcomes of the IGC sessions in February 2012 and April 2012, respectively. In accordance with the IGC's mandate, the WIPO General Assembly will take stock of and consider the text and progress made, and decide on convening a Diplomatic Conference. The Assembly also will consider the need for additional IGC meetings.

The session also discussed observers' participation, heard a report from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII), and included a panel of indigenous and local communities, focusing on "Intellectual Property, Traditional Cultural Expressions and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Perspectives of Indigenous Peoples." [WIPO IGC 22 Website] [WIPO Secretariat Update] [WIPO IGC 22 Decisions] [IGC Report to the WIPO General Assembly]