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NEW TREATY ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND GENETIC RESOURCES



  May 27, 2024

NEW TREATY ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND GENETIC RESOURCES



The new Treaty on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources, and Traditional Knowledge, approved by WIPO member states on May 24, 2024, marks a significant milestone in international law. This Treaty mandates the disclosure of the origin of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in patent applications. It specifically includes provisions for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, ensuring their contributions are recognized and respected. This historic agreement, resulting from decades of negotiations, aims to promote transparency and fairness in the use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, benefiting countries rich in biodiversity like India.


KEY PROVISIONS

1. Disclosure Requirements: Patent applicants must disclose the country of origin or source of genetic resources used in their inventions. This aims to ensure transparency and recognition of the contributions from various regions and communities.

2. Traditional Knowledge: If the invention involves traditional knowledge, applicants must identify the Indigenous Peoples or local communities that provided this knowledge. This provision recognizes and respects the contributions of these communities to innovation and scientific advancements.

EXAMPLES FROM INDIA

1. Medicinal Plants:

• Neem: Widely used in India for its medicinal properties, neem has applications ranging from traditional medicine to agricultural products. Under the new Treaty, any patent involving neem would require disclosure of its Indian origin.

• Turmeric: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. Patents on innovations derived from turmeric would need to acknowledge its traditional roots and Indian origin.

2. Agricultural Practices:

• Organic Fertilizers: Traditional Indian farming practices often use organic fertilizers made from natural resources. Innovations based on these traditional methods would require disclosing the source and acknowledging the local knowledge behind them.

• Pest Control Methods: Techniques such as using neem oil for pest control, developed by Indian farmers, would need to be disclosed when used in patented agricultural products.

3. Animal Breeds:

• Gir Cow: An indigenous breed known for its resilience and milk production, the Gir cow is a vital part of traditional Indian farming. Patents involving genetic research or breeding techniques using the Gir cow would need to disclose this source and recognize the traditional knowledge of Indian farmers.

MOVING FORWARD

The Treaty will enter into force once 15 contracting parties sign it. This will ensure that the contributions of countries like India, rich in genetic resources and traditional knowledge, are properly acknowledged and protected in international patent applications.



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