Views from Speakers at the Seminar on Intellectual Property and Traditional Knowledge (November 24 and 25, 2016)


The WIPO Seminar on Intellectual Property and Traditional Knowledge took place at WIPO Headquarters on November 24 and 25, 2016.

The Seminar shared regional, national and local experiences regarding a challenging issue in the intellectual property field: the relationship between intellectual property and traditional knowledge.

Interviews with selected speakers

Keynote address: Why and How to Protect Traditional Knowledge Internationally?

Watch the video of Dr. Marisella Ouma

To ensure that these rights are respected all over, the international law will help in approximation, harmonization and creating a minimum standard so to speak, where we can all agree to protect traditional knowledge and other associated knowledge.

Dr. Marisella Ouma, Intellectual Property Consultant, Kenya

Roundtable 1: Regional, National and Community Experiences Relevant to Identifying “Protectable Traditional Knowlegde” at an International Level

Watch the video of Mr. Andrés Valladolid

Traditional Knowledge should be related to the different uses of plants, animals […]. In the Peruvian case it has been very useful to establish the traditional knowledge registration that has allowed us to identify cases of biopiracy in the patent system.

Mr. Andrés Valladolid, President, National Anti-Biopiracy Commission, Peruvian National Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI), Peru

Watch the video of Mrs. Lucy Mulenkei

Traditional knowledge discussions are quite comprehensive; the type of intellectual wealth that I would like to be protected is the quick disappearing knowledge that looks at our traditions and cultures including food, medicine, ornaments, artifacts and folklores within our communities.

Mrs. Lucy Mulenkei, Member of the Maasai People, Kenya / Executive Director of the Indigenous Information Network, Kenya / Co-Chair of the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network and the African Indigenous Women’s Organization

Roundtable 2: Perspectives on and Experiences with a “Tiered Approach” to the Protection of Traditional Knowledge – Scope of Protection and Exceptions and Limitations

Watch the video of Ms. Miranda Risang Ayu Palar

A way to classify traditional knowledge into several categories, […] secret and sacred, narrowly diffused, and widely diffused […]. We keep debating about the definitions, so maybe by clarifying the scope of protection of TK we can reach the same goal.

Ms. Miranda Risang Ayu Palar, Law Lecturer and Researcher, Faculty of Law, Padjadjaran University, Indonesia

Watch the video of Ms. Manisha Desai

As I understand the concept of tiered approach, […] there should be a continuum between what is private and not known versus what is […] publicly known, and […] where something falls on that continuum determines how much protection it gets. […] [W]hen you have a continuum, it's difficult to know where the boundaries are and whether you are in violation or not. […] [S]o the main concern is that there be clarity.

Ms. Manisha Desai, Assistant General Patent Counsel, Eli Lilly and Company, United States of America

Roundtable 3: Complementary Measures and Customary Law for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge: Examples and Lessons Learned

Watch the video of Dr. Ghazala Javed

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library was put in place when there were reports of misappropriation (cases of neem, turmeric) [...]. It is successful in providing defensive protection, but it has its limitation; as of now […] we are documenting certain sets of books in Indian Traditional Medicine Systems in the TKDL.

Dr. Ghazala Javed, Scientist-IV, International Cooperation, Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), India

Watch the video of Ms. Deborah Lashley-Johnson

One proposed Joint Recommendation would link national TK/GR databases with a WIPO portal so that patent examiners can search a broader set of prior art related to traditional knowledge and genetic resources. The other proposed joint recommendation would encourage members to use access and benefit sharing contracts and voluntary codes of conduct to facilitate needed discussions, trust and cooperation between users and providers of traditional knowledge and genetic resources.

Ms. Deborah Lashley-Johnson, IP Attaché, Permanent Mission of the United States to the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Watch the video of Ms. Catherine Bunyassi Kahuria

Kenya has the Traditional Knowledge Digital Repository within its legislation and fulfillment of our constitutional mandate in the protection of traditional knowledge […]. Gaining trust and consent of the communities is crucial and very necessary in this endeavor […]. We do envision having various levels of registers at the national, county and community levels working in a collaborated national database system.

Ms. Catherine Bunyassi Kahuria, Senior Principal State Counsel, International Law Division, Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice, Kenya
Disclaimer – The views expressed in the presentations are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Secretariat of the World Intellectual Property Organization or any of its Member States.