KEI statement at WIPO GA 2016 on the Inter-governmental Committee (IGC) on genetic resources, traditional knowledge

KEI is interested in how regimes proposed in the IGC impact the economics of stewardship, curation and sharing of Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Genetic Resources (GR).

KEI generally opposes the creation of exclusive rights that can block innovations and access to knowledge and materials, in the context of Traditional Knowledge or Generic Resources.

However, benefit sharing does not require the granting of exclusive rights. Liability rule approaches seem to offer a better model.

In the past, KEI has encouraged the IGC to consider approaches modeled after the EU Directive in Biotechnology, that creates a mandatory cross licensing regime between sui generis plant breeder rights and patents, when either one uses the other's innovations. Aspects of this directive in the EU may be relevant to some of the challenges in implementing benefit sharing when TK or GR are involved.

Also, on July 17, 2013, KEI presented a possible liability rule for Traditional Cultural Expressions, at the IGC meeting, for certain limited cases of commercial exploitation, such an entertainment work or performance generating significant revenues.