26 May 2024 PIB
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1. WIPO Treaty, a big win for India and Global South
FIP Magazine

1.WIPO Treaty, a big win for India and Global South

Syllabus: GS-3, Issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights

Prelims: About  Intellectual property


Historic Milestone for India and the Global South:


  • The WIPO treaty on intellectual property, genetic resources (GRs), and associated traditional knowledge (ATK) is a major victory for India and the global South.
  • India, a mega biodiversity hotspot, has abundant traditional knowledge and wisdom.
  • This treaty inscribes traditional knowledge and wisdom into the global IP system, recognising the connection between local communities and their GRs and ATK.


Benefits of the Treaty:


  • The treaty safeguards biodiversity and enhances transparency in the patent system.
  • It strengthens innovation by making the IP system more inclusive and responsive to the needs of all countries and communities.
  • The treaty is a result of over two decades of negotiations and has been adopted by consensus among more than 150 countries.


Impact on Patent System and Biodiversity Protection:


  • Developed countries, which generate IP and use these resources for research and innovation, are on board, bridging conflicting paradigms within the IP system.
  • The treaty requires mandatory disclosure obligations for patent applicants to disclose the country of origin or source of genetic resources when the claimed invention is based on GRs or ATK.
  • This offers added protection to Indian GRs and TK, preventing misappropriation in countries without disclosure obligations.


Global Standards and Implementation:


  • Currently, only 35 countries have some form of disclosure obligations, mostly non-mandatory with inadequate sanctions or remedies.
  • The treaty mandates contracting parties, including developed countries, to enforce disclosure of origin obligations on patent applicants, requiring changes in their existing legal frameworks.
  • This establishes an unprecedented framework within the IP system for provider countries of GRs and ATK.


Future Prospects:

  • The treaty marks the beginning of a journey towards collective growth and sustainable development, a cause long championed by India.
  • It promises a sustainable future by creating global standards and protecting the rights and resources of biodiversity-rich countries.

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