The protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) is relation to traditional knowledge has been suffering from many problems worldwide and greater international cooperation is required to identify a solution.
Those were the views shared by participants attending the inter-regional seminar on traditional knowledge, cultural expressions and genetic resources of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held in Zhengzhou, capital of Central China's Henan Province.
Atop the list of problems are disagreements between developed and developing nations over the terminology of traditional knowledge and the detailed provisions for protection.
The Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, also known as IGC, was established by the WIPO at the request of developing countries in 2001, said Wang Binying, WIPO Assistant Director General.
As an international policy forum the IGC discusses intellectual property issues as they arise in relation to the protection of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions (sometimes termed folklore), access to genetic resources and benefit sharing.
But the IGC appears to have got bogged down by a marathon-style drafting of a legally binding international treaty since 2004. Up to now it has achieved little due to disagreements between developed and developing countries over the text of the protection provisions, said IGC chairman I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, who is also Indonesian ambassador in Geneva.
WIPO Deputy Director, General Michael S. Keplinger, said they hoped member nations would make concerted efforts so a framework could be formed to protect of IPR concerning traditional knowledge.
Wang Binying, WIPO Assistant Director General, highlighted low awareness of protection via patented rights, the value of preserving tangible materials but also the belittling of IPR protection of intangible assets as two other problems in the protection of traditional knowledge.
"The success of protection of IPR for traditional knowledge lies in patience, diligence and sincerity," said the IGC chairman.
The three-day inter-regional seminar on traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources of the WIPO was attended by specialists from 40 countries and representatives of a number of international organizations.
During the seminar participants discussed cases concerning misappropriation and piracy of traditional knowledge, folklore and exchanged views on how to improve things. The seminar closed on Friday.
(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2006)