[A2k] WIPO intergovernmental committee debates patents on life in relation to IP and genetic resources

Thirukumaran Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri Feb 17 09:29:01 PST 2012


http://keionline.org/node/1367

WIPO intergovernmental committee debates patents on life in relation to IP and genetic resources

Submitted by thiru on 17. February 2012 - 19:20

Currently, the 20th session of the World Intellectual Property Organization's Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC/GRTKF) is deliberating over draft objectives and principles relating to intellectual property and genetic resources (WIPO/GRTKF/IC/20/4). These discussions are guided by the mandate of  the Thirty-Eighth Session of the WIPO General Assembly (2009) which instructed the Committee to

continue its work and undertake text-based negotiations with the objective of reaching agreement on a text of an international legal instrument (or instruments) which will ensure the effective protection of GRs, TK and TCEs.

It is understood that the draft objectives and principles relating to intellectual property and genetic resources would serve as the basis for an international legal instrument on the protection of genetic resources.

Three facilitators, Ian Goss (Australia), Chandni Raina (India) and Tom Suchanandan (South Africa) were selected to prepare a "Facilitators' Consolidated Document Relating to Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources". The 2nd version of this document was released on 16 February 2012 at 17:38 Central European Time. This document reproduce the contents of documents, WIPO/GRTKF/IC/20/4 (Draft Objectives and Principles Relating to Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, prepared by the WIPO secretariat), WIPO/GRTKF/IC/19/6 (Draft Objectives and Principles Relating to Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, prepared by the WIPO secretariat), the African Group proposal, the Like-Minded Countries proposal, in addition to interventions made in plenary at IGC 19.

Option 2 of Objective 2 is based on text originally introduced by Bolivia at WIPO's Third Intersessional Working Group (which met from 28 February 2011 to 4 March 2011 focusing on genetic resources) to ensure no patents on life and life forms are granted for genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

"Option 2

Ensure that no patents on life and life forms are granted for genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge."

Today, this provision was supported by Venezuela, the Holy See, Algeria, Egypt and India. The Republic of Korea, Japan, Switzerland, the European Union, and United States requested that this provision be bracketed. Korea, Switzerland and the EU specifically requested that the Bolivian text be deleted.

The US provided a more nuanced intervention:

We propose a new option 2: "Enhance the availability of patent protection for life forms and new uses for known substances in order to create benefits and support benefit-sharing from the use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.” The intention is not to promote the protection of substances in nature but to protect new useful non-obvious inventions. We haven’t been adding our delegation to the list of those requesting that brackets remain, but we support retaining the brackets advocated by Japan, EU, Canada.


-- 

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)

thiru at keionline.org



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