The 19th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore of WIPO (IGC) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 18 to 22 July 2011, to continue text-based negotiations on the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore. The meeting was chaired by the Kenyan Ambassador, Mr. Philip Owade. Vietnam's delegation composing Mrs. Nguyen Thanh Tu, Director of Patent Division No. 3, National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) and Mr. Mai Van Son, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Viet Nam to Geneva attended the meeting.
According to the agenda, following issues were considered and discussed at the meeting:
On the protection of traditional cultural expressions: Based on the draft text presented at the 18th meeting, delegates continued considering and discussing proposed articles concerning the objectives and principles of the protection of traditional cultural expressions, subject matters of protection, beneficiaries, scope of protection, managements of rights, some limitations and exceptions to the protection, term of protection, sanctions against infringements and the relationship of the proposed text with other international legal instruments in the field. The meeting reached a certain progress by making consensus of options for draft articles in the text.
Similar to traditional cultural expressions, delegates negotiated on articles of the Draft text of protection of traditional knowledge which was presented at the 18th session of the IGC namely: definition of traditional knowledge, criteria for protection, beneficiaries of protection, scope of protection, sanctions against infringements, management of rights, limitations and exceptions for the protection, term of protection and the relationship between the protection of traditional knowledge and the other international treaties. The Chair also held several consultations with different groups to find out consensus on relevant issues. As a result, consensuses on a number of options related to draft provisions on the protection of traditional knowledge are made at the meeting.
For the protection of genetic resources, delegates focused on the principles and objectives of the protection of genetic resources such as access to and use of genetic resources, granting of patents for inventions containing genetic resources, handling erroneous patents and benefit sharing from the use of genetic resources. To facilitate the meeting, several consultations were held between the Chair and representatives of groups to narrow the divergence of views over proposed objectives and principles on the protection of genetic resources.
Relating to the future work on genetic resources, the meeting considered several proposed options, including development of a genetic resources database, model guidelines on the use of genetic resources, compulsory disclosure of genetic resources in patent applications, development of model agreements on benefit sharing and database of contractual agreements on the use of genetic resources and benefit sharing.
In addition to the above issues, the meeting admitted a number of organizations as observers, discussed on voluntary funds for the attendance of indigenous communities’ representatives at the meeting and heard reports of the Panel of Indigenous and Local Communities and the Symposium on Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development held in Qatar and other related issues.
As the mandate of the IGC was reaching its end, delegates agreed unanimously to propose the WIPO General Assembly convinced in next September to extend its mandate for more 2 years (2012-2013) to further discuss the above-mentioned issues. IGC would also recommend the WIPO General Assembly to convene a Diplomatic Conference to officially adopt instruments on the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore.
Attending the meeting, Vietnamese delegates actively involved in the plenary negotiations and Asian group consultation, contributing to narrow the gap between delegations on the said issues at the meeting.
The next meeting of the IGC is scheduled to take place on next February 2012 at Geneva, Switzerland.
International Cooperation Division