Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Folklore: Perspectives on WIPO's Draft Provisions

Roundtable Co-organised by ICTSD, CIEL, IDDRI, IUCN and QUNO.
7:30- 9:30 pm at Hotel De La Paix,
Geneva, Switzerland, 26 April 2006

Description | Programme | Participants | Documentation


The mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) was extended once again at the 2005 WIPO General Assembly. In particular, the debates at the IGC are now focused on the design and implementation of draft provisions for the protection of traditional knowledge (TK) against misappropriation, including the identification of a set of objectives and principles for the protection of TK and folklore.

Discrepancies over the role and potential outcomes of the IGC, however, remain. The last meeting ended without agreement or substantive discussion on these provisions. Nevertheless, it seems that its work will continue, as well as the focus on issues regarding TK protection. Members have started to engage in specific comments and proposals on a possible set of provisions that could address some current concerns including positive protection and sui generis systems.

In this context, it seemed appropriate to address current concerns and the need for protection of TK, in order to ensure that work in the IGC achieves outcomes supportive of sustainable development, including the negotiations under the Convention on Biological Diversity. In the process, it will be an endeavour to evaluate possible ways to introduce the development dimension in the intersection between intellectual property, biodiversity issues, and TK.

This roundtable discussion therefore provided an opportunity to review and analyse the different existing scenarios and tools for protection of TK at the IGC while also examining the role of WIPO and in particular the IGC in developing tools and mechanisms for protection of TK and the outcomes of the IGC process. The aim was also to promote the participation and contribution of all relevant stakeholders in the policy formulation process. A paper by Graham Dutfield who has undertaken a review of various TK protection systems and tools was also tabled.


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