Friday, July 20, 2007

Panelists Predict Future International IP Protection Of Traditional Knowledge

Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen from the IP-Watch, reports on an event organized by South Centre “Towards an international sui generis regime for the protection of traditional knowledge” on 9th July alongside the 3-12 July meeting of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC).

While national intellectual property protection regimes for traditional knowledge in Peru and China were seen as somewhat effective by panelists, the general message was that there still is need for an international system. Speakers also predicted that new regimes in this area, as well as changes to existing trade law, will happen in the future.

Xuan Li, acting coordinator of the Innovation and Access to Knowledge programme at the South Centre, said China introduced patent protection for traditional knowledge in 1993. She said one of the questions is related to novelty: “Do all kinds of existing TK fail to meet novelty requirement when acquiring a patent?” She further adds that while other countries have limited experience in patent examination on TK, China has “limited performance assessment on protection regimes.” She said more than 90 percent of patent applications filed in China by Chinese nationals are for traditional medicines. Read full text