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WIPO's New Treaty: Intellectual Property and Genetic Resourc



  May 27, 2024

WIPO's New Treaty: Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources



HISTORIC BREAKTHROUGH IN GENEVA

On May 24, 2024, WIPO member states approved a new Treaty addressing intellectual property (IP), genetic resources, and traditional knowledge. This landmark decision concluded decades of negotiations. It is the first WIPO Treaty to include provisions specifically for Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE

WIPO Director General Daren Tang highlighted the Treaty as a significant achievement, demonstrating the IP system’s ability to evolve inclusively. Ambassador Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota emphasized the balanced outcome of the negotiations, reflecting diverse interests.

KEY PROVISIONS

1. Disclosure Requirements: Patent applicants must disclose the country of origin or source of genetic resources used in their inventions.

2. Traditional Knowledge: If the invention involves traditional knowledge, applicants must identify the Indigenous Peoples or local communities that provided this knowledge.

UNDERSTANDING GENETIC RESOURCES AND TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE

Genetic resources include elements such as medicinal plants, agricultural crops, and animal breeds. These resources are often conserved and utilized by Indigenous Peoples over generations. Traditional knowledge linked to these resources contributes significantly to scientific research and the development of patented inventions.

EXAMPLES FROM INDIA

1. Medicinal Plants: India’s rich biodiversity includes plants like Neem and Turmeric, which have been used traditionally and have potential for patented medical applications.

2. Agricultural Practices: Traditional agricultural knowledge, such as the use of organic fertilizers and pest control methods, has been developed over centuries by Indian farmers.

3. Animal Breeds: Indigenous breeds like the Gir cow have been selectively bred by Indian communities, contributing to sustainable agriculture.

THE DIPLOMATIC CONFERENCE

The WIPO diplomatic conference, convened by the WIPO General Assembly, adopted the Treaty after comprehensive negotiations. Committees were established to handle substantive and administrative provisions, ensuring a well-rounded and effective Treaty.

MOVING FORWARD

The Treaty will enter into force once 15 contracting parties sign it. This landmark agreement signifies a robust commitment to multilateralism and a significant step forward in integrating IP, genetic resources, and traditional knowledge into international law.



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