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WIPO adopts treaty to recognize genetic resources, traditional knowledge

Messenger Online

Published: 14:00, 25 May 2024

WIPO adopts treaty to recognize genetic resources, traditional knowledge

Photo : Collected

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) approved on Friday (24 May) a new treaty to highlight the disclosure of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in patent applications.

This is the first WIPO treaty to address the interface between intellectual property, genetic resources and traditional knowledge and also the first WIPO treaty to include provisions specifically for indigenous peoples and local communities.

The WIPO Treaty on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge is intended to prevent patents from being granted for inventions that are not novel or inventive with regards to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

The treaty, once it enters into force with 15 contracting parties, will establish in international law a new disclosure requirement for patent applicants whose inventions are based on genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge.

Genetic resources are contained in, for example, medicinal plants, crops and animal breeds. Under the new treaty, patent applicants are now required to specify where genetic resources are from and what inputs from indigenous people are drawn in their inventions.

Daren Tang, the organization's director-general, hailed the agreement, which was approved after a 25-year negotiation, as living proof of multilateralism at WIPO.

"Today we made history in many ways," he said. "Through this, we are showing that the IP system can continue to incentivize innovation while evolving in a more inclusive way, responding to the needs of all countries and their communities."

Messenger/Mumu

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