WIPO IGC Advances Draft on Traditional Knowledge

WIPO29 April 2013: Held from 22-26 April 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland, the 24th session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) focused on improving a draft text of an international legal instrument on intellectual property and traditional knowledge.

The meeting was marked by intense substantive examination of four fundamental issues: defining 'traditional knowledge'; identifying the beneficiaries of protection; framing the scope of rights; and defining appropriate exceptions and limitations. Following a review of the draft articles on traditional knowledge in plenary, the IGC established an informal expert group with up to six experts per region and two indigenous experts, which worked on the core issues with a view to reducing the number of options and streamlining the text. According to reports, progress has been achieved on cleaning up the text, although consensus is still lacking on core issues. The improved draft text of an international legal instrument on intellectual property and traditional knowledge, as reviewed by plenary on Friday, 26 April, will be transmitted to the WIPO General Assembly, which will meet from 23 September to 2 October 2013. The General Assembly will take stock of progress made and decide on convening a diplomatic conference.

WIPO IGC 24 was preceded by a three-day indigenous expert workshop, co-organized by the WIPO Secretariat and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The workshop aimed at providing input to the preparations of the indigenous representatives during the session. IGC 24 then began with an indigenous panel, which focused specifically on the perspectives of indigenous peoples with respect to their right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over traditional knowledge.

WIPO IGC 25, which will address the theme of traditional cultural expressions, and provide an additional three days for stock-taking, will take place from 15-24 July 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. [WIPO Secretariat Update][Meeting Documents][Meeting Decisions][IISD RS Sources]