INDONESIA, March 13, 2014 (Bali Daily): The debate is ongoing between developing and developed nations to make an international legally binding instrument to protect traditional knowledge and cultural expression. During a two-day consultative meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) hosted by Indonesia, the two sides expressed divergent views on the best ways forward to protect traditional knowledge and cultural expression, with the major powers still reluctant to have a legally binding instrument.
The IGC is targeting an agreed text that would later be proposed in the upcoming 27th session in Geneva at the end of this month for further negotiation. The IGC will later push the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to approve a diplomatic conference where the process toward creating the legal instrument would be enhanced.
Because the existing international intellectual property system does not fully protect traditional knowledge and cultural expressions, many communities and governments have called for an international legal instrument. Such an instrument would define what is meant by traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, who the rights holders would be, how competing claims by communities would be resolved, and what rights and exceptions ought to apply. This would make it possible, for example, to protect traditional remedies and indigenous art forms against misappropriation, and enable communities to control and benefit collectively from their commercial exploitation.