Chapter 21: Biodiversity, Intellectual Property Rights Regime, and Indigenous Knowledge System at the WTO: Revisiting the Unresolved Issues
21 Biodiversity, intellectual property rights regime and indigenous knowledge system at the WTO: revisiting the unresolved issues Sachin Chaturvedi Introduction In the last decade, interlinkages between the intellectual property rights (IPR) regime, biodiversity and the indigenous knowledge system (IKS) have emerged as one of the most contentious issues in the current round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations. In fact the discontent among developing countries with the legacy of Uruguay Round in the realm of IPR has been so intense that debate on these interlinkages has overshadowed the Doha Round and has emerged as a major component of the negotiating agenda from the South, behind which all could rally. The debate on these issues takes place at several multilateral fora, including at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which established an Inter-governmental Committee (IGC) on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore,1 apart from at the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), under the aegis of FAO which further encouraged protection and promotion of farmers’ rights and indigenous knowledge system (IKS). Currently, this WIPO IGC is also discussing draft provisions for the enhanced protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions against misappropriation and misuse. However, it is at the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) that the intensity of debate is very high. Since the Doha Ministerial, the deliberations on TRIPs have hovered around three major issues of concern to various members: the review of the provisions of...
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