Historic outcome of the Diplomatic Conference on Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge

21 Jun 2024 | Newsletter

Ralph NackFirst Deputy Reporter General, AIPPI

The WIPO member states approved a groundbreaking new Treaty related to treatment of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in patent applications. This Treaty is the outcome of a Diplomatic Conference which took place in Geneva on May 13 – 24, 2024, after decades of pre-negotiations. AIPPI was represented at this Diplomatic Conference by its Reporter General, Ari Laakkonen, and its First Deputy Reporter General, Dr. Ralph Nack.

This treaty is a landmark achievement after 25 years of intense negotiations and marks a significant step towards greater inclusion and recognition of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in the IP framework.

One of the most notable features of this treaty is the requirement for patent applicants to disclose the origin of genetic resources and traditional knowledge they utilize, where the claimed invention in a patent application is based on genetic resources. This measure aims to ensure transparency of the use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge for the purpose of research and development. It also aims to prevent patents from being granted erroneously for inventions that are not novel or inventive with regard to genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.

Failure to comply with the disclosure requirement shall result in effective and proportionate legal, administrative, and/or policy measures. However, patents shall not be revoked, invalidated, or rendered unenforceable solely on the basis of an applicant’s failure to disclose the information.

The successful adoption of this Treaty highlights the importance of multilateral cooperation in addressing complex global issues. It showcases the evolution of the IP system to better accommodate diverse stakeholders, especially acknowledging contributions made by the Indigenous People to modern inventions.

This conference has set a precedent for future negotiations and treaties, underscoring the necessity of inclusivity and respect. It represents a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to further improve the overall IP system.

AIPPI remains fully committed to supporting WIPO’s continued efforts to harmonize and improve the worldwide IP system.

For further details on the treaty, please refer to the official WIPO announcement https://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2024/article_0007.html