Knowledge for Development

Bridging the gap on intellectual property and genetic resources (WIPO)


Date: 14/03/2012


David Vivas-Eugui. ICTSD Issue Paper No. 34. January 2012.

Discussions on how to address concerns about the misappropriation of genetic resources and traditional knowledge have been high on the agenda of a variety of multilateral forums such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In the past two years, WIPO’s Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) has witnessed an acceleration of its work in particular on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. However, the gap in positions on genetic resources remains significant. Against this background, this issue paper examines at length the range of measures and options discussed in the IGC especially biodiversity disclosure requirements and databases. It also considers the binding or non-binding nature of the instrument(s) that might emerge from the IGC and their different implications. In connection to all these aspects, the paper makes recommendations regarding processes, substance and existing research gaps that could contribute towards advancing the IGC’s deliberations.

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