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Report of the Inter-Regional Workshop on Intellectual Property Rights in the Context of Traditional Medicine (Bangkok, Thailand, 6-8 December 2000)
(2001; 52 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. The role of intellectual property rights in the context of traditional medicine
View the document3. Globalization, the TRIPS Agreement and access to essential drugs
View the document4. Intellectual property rights
View the document5. Systems and national experience for protecting traditional knowledge, innovations and practices
Open this folder and view contents6. Problems and gaps in traditional medicine in relation to modern patent laws
View the document7. Group discussion on existing problems and gaps for the protection of traditional medicine knowledge
Open this folder and view contents8. Presentations on national patent law: means, experiences and proposals
View the document9. Recommendations
View the documentAnnex I. Message to the Workshop from Dr Uton Muchtar Rafei, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia Region
View the documentAnnex II. Welcome address from Dr Mongkol Na Songkhla, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand
View the documentAnnex III. Workshop Agenda
View the documentAnnex IV. List of Participants

5. Systems and national experience for protecting traditional knowledge, innovations and practices

Ms Maria Perez-Esteve of UNCTAD, Geneva, presented a paper on this subject.

The importance of protecting the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities (traditional knowledge, TK) is increasingly recognized in international forums. Developing countries seek to ensure that the benefits of cumulative innovation associated with TK accrue to its holders while enhancing their socioeconomic development. They also aim at preventing the improper appropriation of TK, with little or no compensation to the custodians of TK and without their prior informed consent.

UNCTAD’s presentation highlighted possible instruments for the protection of traditional medicine knowledge, including traditional/customary law, modern intellectual property rights instruments, sui generis systems, documentation of TK and instruments directly linked to benefit-sharing. In addition to national systems, the protection of TK and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of biodiversity resources and associated TK may also require measures by user countries or cooperation at the multilateral level.

Ms Perez-Esteve emphasized the fact that protection of TK is a necessary, but not sufficient, requirement for its preservation and further development. To harness TK for development and trade, developing countries need assistance in building national capacity in terms of raising awareness of the importance and potential of TK for development and trade; developing institutional and consultative mechanisms on TK protection and TK-based innovation; and facilitating the identification and marketing of TK-based products and services. There is also a need to promote an exchange of experience among developing countries on national strategies for TK development, sui generis systems for the protection of TK and the commercialization of TK-based products and services.

At the end of the presentation, the UNCTAD representative reported on the outcome of the Expert Meeting including the recommendations at the (i) national level; (ii) multilateral level, and (iii) recommendations to UNCTAD.


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