World Intellectual Property Organization

Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions and Traditional Knowledge – Key Issues

At its tenth session, the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) identified ten key questions relating to the protection of traditional cultural expressions/expressions of folklore (TCEs/EoF) and traditional knowledge (TK).

The IGC established a commentary process regarding these issues, which took place between its tenth and eleventh sessions. The Committee then undertook an extensive review of the issues and commissioned factual extractions of the comments and viewpoints made on these issues:

List of issues

Expressions of folklore

  • Definition of traditional cultural expressions/expressions of folklore that should be protected.
  • Who should benefit from any such protection or who should hold the rights to protectable TCEs/EoF?
  • What objective is sought to be achieved through according intellectual property protection (economic rights, moral rights)?
  • What forms of behavior in relation to the protectable TCEs/EoF should be considered unacceptable/illegal?
  • Should there be any exceptions or limitations to rights attaching to protectable TCEs/EoF?
  • For how long should protection be accorded?
  • To what extent do existing IPRs already afford protection? What gaps need to be filled?
  • What sanctions or penalties should apply to behavior or acts considered to unacceptable/illegal?
  • Which issues should be dealt with internationally and which nationally, or what division should be made between international regulation and national regulation?
  • How should foreign rights holders/beneficiaries be treated?

Traditional knowledge

    • Definition of traditional knowledge that should be protected.
    • Who should benefit from any such protection or who hold the rights to protectable traditional knowledge?
    • What objective is sought to be achieved through according intellectual property protection (economic rights, moral rights)?
    • What forms of behavior in relation to the protectable traditional knowledge should be considered unacceptable/illegal?
    • Should there be any exceptions or limitations to rights attaching to protectable traditional knowledge?
    • For how long should protection be accorded?
    • To what extent do existing IPRs already afford protection? What gaps need to be filled?
    • What sanctions or penalties should apply to behavior or acts considered to unacceptable/illegal?
    • Which issues should be dealt with internationally and which nationally, or what division should be made between international regulation and national regulation?
    • How should foreign rights holders/beneficiaries be treated?

Comments

Comments on the issues were received from IGC members and accredited observers. These comments have been incorporated in working documents:

WIPO member states and observers

Member State / Observer Traditional Cultural Expressions Traditional Knowledge Traditional Cultural Expressions and Traditional Knowledge
Brazil      PDF
China PDF    
Colombia     PDF
European Union PDF PDF  
Ghana     PDF
Guatemala     PDF
Hungary     PDF
Japan PDF PDF  
Kyrgyz Republic     PDF
Latvia    PDF  
Mexico  PDF    
New Zealand     PDF
Nicaragua     PDF
Norway PDF PDF  
Qatar     PDF
Switzerland   PDF  
Tunisia   PDF  
United States of America     PDF

IGC accredited observers

IGC Observer Traditional Cultural Expressions Traditional Knowledge Traditional Cultural Expressions and Traditional Knowledge
Eurasian Patent Office   PDF  
Federación Iberolatinoamericana de Artistas Intérpretes y Ejecutantes (FILAIE) PDF    
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)   PDF  
International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA)   PDF  
International Publishers Association (IPA)     PDF
Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO)   PDF  
Ogiek Community     PDF
Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON)     PDF

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