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Archived updates for Friday, March 21, 2008

Bio Resources and Traditional Knowledge Raised at TRIPS Council

According to BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 12, Number 10, 19 March 2008, biological resources and associated traditional knowledge disclosure requirements featured prominently at a 13 March meeting of the WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Brazil, India, Cuba, Peru, Ecuador, Pakistan, Thailand, Venezuela said that there was high and growing support among the WTO Membership for their proposed proposed amendment that would include a mandatory requirement to disclose the origin of biological resources and/or associated traditional knowledge in patent applications. It would also require evidence of compliance with prior informed consent and fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from the commercial or other utilisation of such resources and knowledge.

The TRIPS Agreement itself provides for a review of Article 27.3(b), which deals with the patentability of plants and "essentially biological" processes for producing them. The Doha mandate asked WTO Members to broaden this review to look at the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the protection of traditional knowledge and folklore.

Noticeably absent from the meeting's agenda was the enforcement of intellectual property protections, a contentious issue raised regularly by developed countries such as the EU and the US at recent sessions of the council. Developing countries have generally resisted efforts to make enforcement a 'standing issue' on the council's agenda, which would require it to be discussed at each meeting.

The TRIPS Council meeting concluded with the nomination of Ambassador Gail Marie Mathurin (Jamaica) as chair. She succeeds Nigerian Ambassador Yonov Frederick Agah.

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