1st Edition

Protecting Traditional Knowledge The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore

Edited By Daniel F. Robinson, Ahmed Abdel-Latif, Pedro Roffe Copyright 2017
    366 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    382 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This is the first comprehensive review of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) established in 2000. It provides an in-depth consideration of the key thematic areas within WIPO discussions – genetic resources (GRs), traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) through the perspectives of a broad range of experts and stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and local communities. It also looks at how these areas have been treated in a number of forums and settings (including national systems and experiences, and also in trade agreements) and the interface with WIPO discussions.

    Furthermore, the book analyses the process and the negotiation dynamics since the IGC received a mandate from WIPO members, in 2009, to undertake formal text-based negotiations towards legal instruments for the protection of GR, TK and TCEs. While there has been some progress in these negotiations, important disagreements persist. If these are to be resolved, the adoption of these legal instruments would be a significant development towards resolving key gaps in the modern intellectual property system. In this regard, the book considers the future of the IGC and suggests options which could contribute towards achieving a consensual outcome.


    Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz 

    Part 1: Introduction 

    1. Introduction: Mapping the Evolution, State-of-play and Future of the WIPO IGC 

    Daniel F. Robinson, Pedro Roffe, Ahmed Abdel-Latif 

    2. Revisiting the Creation of the IGC: The Limits of Constructive Ambiguity? 

    Ahmed Abdel-Latif 

    3. The Evolution of the IGC from 2001 to 2016: An Insider’s Perspective 

    Wend Wendland 

    4. Relationships between the Work of the IGC and Other Forums 

    Charles Lawson 

    Part 2: Substantive Issues 

    5. Of Disclosure "Straws" and IP System "Camels": Patents, Innovation, and the Disclosure of Origin Requirement 

    Margo A. Bagley 

    6. The Role of Databases, Contracts and Codes of Conduct 

    Daniel F. Robinson and Claudio Chiarolla 

    7. The Legal Protection of Widely Shared and Dispersed Traditional Knowledge   

    Manuel Ruiz Muller 

    8. Negotiating the Public Domain in an International Framework for Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions 

    Ruth L. Okediji 

    9. Traditional Cultural Expressions 

    Marc Perlman 

    10. Now You See It Now You Don’t: The Rise and Fall of Customary Law in the IGC    

    Brendan Tobin 

    Part 3: Stakeholder Perspectives 

    11. An Indigenous Perspective on the WIPO IGC 

    Maui Solomon 

    12. Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Disclosure Obligations: Some Observations from the Life Science Industry  

    Dominic Muyldermans 

    13. Indigenous Culture and Indigenous Publishing: Balancing Protection, Preservation and Promotion 

    Jens Bammel and José Borghino 

    14. Disclosure Requirements: Switzerland’s Perspective 

    Georges Bauer, Cyrill Michael Berger and Martin Girsberger 

    15. India’s Position in the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge 

    Biswajit Dhar 

    16. The WIPO IGC: A US Perspective 

    Dominic Keating 

    17. Access and Benefit Sharing, Intellectual Property Rights and the Protection of Traditional Knowledge in Costa Rica: Participation in and Possible Impacts of the IGC’s Work 

    Jorge Cabrera Medaglia 

    18. New Zealand, Mātauranga Māori and the IGC 

    Jessica C. Lai 

    Part 4: The Future of the IGC 

    19. Preferential Trade Agreements and the Protection of Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge 

    Pedro Roffe 

    20. WIPO and the Traditional Knowledge Conundrum 

    Ahmed Abdel-Latif 

    21. The Challenge of Cross-Border Protection of Traditional Knowledge 

    Susy Frankel 

    22. Should We Protect Turmeric Lattes? 

    Graham Dutfield 

    23. Ramifications of WIPO IGC for IP and Development 

    Chidi Oguamanam


    Daniel F. Robinson is Research Fellow at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) Geneva, Switzerland and Associate Professor in Environmental Studies at The University of New South Wales, Australia.

    Ahmed Abdel-Latif is Special Assistant for Policy and Programme in the Office of the Director General at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

    Pedro Roffe is Senior Associate in Innovation, Technology and Intellectual Property at ICTSD, Geneva, Switzerland.

    "A new book with contributions from key thinkers on the subject details the long history and intensive negotiations of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, making a case for conclusion of binding international agreements in these areas as a way to close important gaps in intellectual property policy." - William New, Intellectual Property Watch (August 2017)

    "The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore is a highly recommended contribution for students, academics and policy-makers. The book effectively systematizes the background and evolution of nearly two decades of IGC’s work and provides a vision into the future. One of the main merits of the book is that it explains in simple terms complex legal, economic, institutional, diplomatic and ethical implications of the relationship between intellectual property, genetic resources and traditional knowledge." - Miguel Ángel Elizalde Carranza, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain