International Activities

WIPO-IGC, the 30th session in Switzerland

On May 30 to June 3, 2016, the 30th session of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore was held in Geneva, Switzerland. From JIPA, 3 persons participated in the session, including Mr. Yasuhisa Kikuchi (Sapporo Holdings) and Mr. Masahiko Miyatake (Suntory Holdings) from the Forest WG of the WIPO PJ. This is the first WIPO-IGC session to which JIPA sent its delegation.

The IGC has been discussing an international legal text providing for the relationship between intellectual property and protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions (TCEs), and folklore. The discussion started in 2000, but an agreement has not been reached even with regard to basic matters such as the objectives, subjects of protection, and beneficiaries. A gap in opinions still exists between developing and developed countries.

The Forest WG of JIPA engages in studying the impact of international agreements on inventions made with the use of genetic resources obtained from abroad as well as IP rights and business activities involving these resources. At this year's session that had a focus on genetic resources, participants exchanged opinions concerning the definitions of key terms and the disclosure requirement.

Despite the lively discussion, the gap in opinions between developed and developing countries was not filled at this session. A consensus was not reached with regard to the disclosure requirement, the topic with which the Forest WG was most concerned. The final draft of an international legal text is scheduled to be released in July.

Taking part in this session, the Forest WG was able to obtain a great amount of information by hearing opinions from various countries and exchanging views with participating organizations. Discussion on the disclosure requirement will proceed based on the outcome of this session, which is expected to influence the disclosure requirement under the Design Act and other related laws.

Next and subsequent sessions of WIPO-IGC will discuss the disclosure requirement concerning traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. We will have to wait to see how the discussion will unfold.

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