Experts Develop Streamlined Text on TK for IGC Negotiators

January 11, 2011

A constructive, dynamic and participatory working atmosphere characterized discussions among experts from states, indigenous organizations and industry during technical talks from February 21 to 25, 2011 towards an international legal instrument to ensure the effective protection of traditional knowledge (TK). The meeting resulted in a consolidated, streamlined text on the protection of TK which will be submitted to the next session of the IGC from May 9 to 13, 2011.

Experts meeting at the Second Intersessional Working Group (IWG 2) of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) – both in plenary and open-ended informal drafting groups - worked intensively to craft the text on the protection of TK. The text addresses questions such as a definition of TK, beneficiaries of protection and the scope of rights to be granted in TK and how they would be managed and enforced.

In May 2010, the IGC had agreed on arrangements for intersessional working groups to support and facilitate the IGC's negotiations by providing legal and technical advice and analysis, including, where appropriate, various options and scenarios. Member states had agreed that delegations at the IWGs would be limited to one technical expert each sitting in a personal capacity. IWG 1, on traditional cultural expressions, took place in July 2010. IWG 2 was chaired by Dr. Ian Heath of Australia. Vice-chairs were Mr. Yonah Seleti (South Africa), Professor N. S. Gopalakrishnan (India), Ms. Yang Hongju (China) and Ms. Lorena Bolaños (Guatemala).

IWG 3 meets next week to discuss intellectual property and genetic resources.