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2024 WIPO Meeting: Genetic Resources & Traditional Knowledge



  May 15, 2024

WIPO Meeting 2024: Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge


 
What is the WIPO Meeting 2024 about?

The WIPO Meeting 2024 focuses on final-stage negotiations for a proposed treaty on intellectual property, genetic resources, and associated traditional knowledge. The aim is to protect the rights of communities that conserve genetic resources and hold knowledge of their use.

What are genetic resources?

Genetic resources are genetic material of actual or potential value found in plants, animals, and microorganisms. These resources are often used in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology.

What is traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources?

Traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources refers to the knowledge, practices, and innovations of indigenous and local communities that have been developed and passed down through generations. This knowledge is often related to the use and conservation of genetic resources.

What is the main goal of the treaty?

The main goal of the treaty is to enhance the efficacy, transparency, and quality of the patent system regarding genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. It aims to prevent patents being granted for inventions that are not novel or inventive and to ensure proper disclosure of genetic resources and traditional knowledge in patent applications.

What is biopiracy and how does the treaty address it?

Biopiracy refers to the unauthorized use and patenting of genetic resources and traditional knowledge without proper compensation or acknowledgment to the communities that developed and conserved them. The treaty seeks to address biopiracy by requiring disclosure of genetic resources and traditional knowledge in patent applications and by aligning with existing international agreements like the Nagoya Protocol.

What is digital sequence information (DSI) and its role in the treaty?

Digital sequence information refers to the digital representation of genetic material. The treaty currently excludes DSI from its scope, which is a point of contention as it impacts the management and protection of genetic resources. Including DSI in the treaty is being debated to ensure comprehensive protection.

Why is a clear definition of traditional knowledge important?

A clear definition of traditional knowledge is crucial to avoid loopholes and ensure effective protection. Without a clear definition, it becomes easy to bypass rules intended to protect traditional knowledge. India's proposed definition includes knowledge that is evolving, generated in a traditional context, and transmitted from generation to generation.

What are the key challenges in the negotiations?

The key challenges include reaching a consensus on mandatory disclosure requirements, addressing biopiracy, including DSI in the treaty, and defining traditional knowledge. Countries like the United States, Japan, and South Korea generally oppose mandatory disclosure requirements, which adds complexity to the negotiations.

What are the expected outcomes of the meeting?

The expected outcomes include finalizing the treaty's text, agreeing on substantive intellectual property provisions, and administrative issues. Once finalized, the treaty will be open for signature, and it aims to provide a robust framework for protecting genetic resources and traditional knowledge.

How does this treaty impact global and local communities?

The treaty aims to protect the rights of indigenous and local communities by ensuring they receive fair compensation and recognition for their genetic resources and traditional knowledge. It also promotes sustainable use and conservation of these resources, benefiting both global and local communities.

What is the significance of India's role in the treaty negotiations?

India plays a significant role in the negotiations by advocating for strong disclosure requirements and a clear definition of traditional knowledge. India's participation helps ensure that the treaty provides sufficient policy space for countries to maintain their current stronger disclosure requirements under national laws.

What are the broader implications of the treaty?

The treaty has broader implications for international intellectual property law, biodiversity conservation, and the rights of indigenous and local communities. It aims to balance the interests of patent holders with the need to protect and sustainably use genetic resources and traditional knowledge.

Conclusion

The WIPO Meeting 2024 on genetic resources and traditional knowledge is a significant step towards protecting the rights of communities that conserve genetic resources and hold traditional knowledge. The treaty aims to enhance the patent system's efficacy, transparency, and quality while addressing key challenges like biopiracy and digital sequence information. The outcome of this meeting will have a profound impact on international intellectual property law and biodiversity conservation.



SRIRAM’s


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