As requested by the Conference of the Parties in Decisions IV/9, IV/15 and V/16, the CBD Secretariat is cooperating with the World Intellectual Property Organization ("WIPO
") on issues related to intellectual property and traditional knowledge. The present Request for References is being circulated in order to contribute to an ongoing WIPO initiative to improve the recognition of disclosed traditional knowledge as prior art.
The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (the "Committee") requested the Secretariat of WIPO to compile the following inventories which may form a useful resource for patent examiners:
- An inventory of existing traditional knowledge-related periodicals, gazettes or newsletters which document and disclose traditional knowledge data, and
- An inventory of existing online traditional knowledge-related databases
WIPO would particularly welcome information relating to publications and databases compiled by and with the prior informed consent of local communities and traditional peoples.
Accordingly, if you are aware of any periodicals, gazettes or newsletters that address traditional knowledge-related issues such as traditional medicinal uses of plants, traditional food-stuffs or traditional agricultural practices, WIPO would appreciate receiving the following details:
Re: Inventories of Disclosed Traditional Knowledge-related Publications and Databases
- There has been considerable concern in recent years that patents have been granted for certain inventions that did not meet the fundamental requirements of patentability when compared with the traditional knowledge from which the inventions had been derived. This traditional knowledge, had it been known to the patent examiners at the time of the examination, may have amounted to "prior art" and may have defeated any claim that the invention was either ‘novel’ or ‘inventive’ and therefore patentable.
- For example, a patent on the use of turmeric for wound healing was revoked once the patented invention was compared with ancient Indian documents that demonstrated that the invention was neither novel nor inventive.
- In response to numerous proposals that the status of traditional knowledge as prior art would be considerably enhanced if patent examiners had access to existing, documented traditional knowledge, the Secretariat of the World Intellectual Property Organization ("WIPO"), as part of its program of activities under the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, is compiling two inventories which may be the basis of a useful resource to prevent the granting of patents on disclosed traditional knowledge:
- An inventory of existing periodicals, journals or gazettes concerning traditional knowledge-related issues; and
- An inventory of existing online traditional knowledge-related databases.
- The inventories will only contain references to traditional knowledge-related publications and databases which are already in the public domain. Their objective is to help to prevent the granting of patents on this knowledge. WIPO has not collected and does not wish to collect traditional knowledge itself.
- The Secretariat of WIPO is seeking contributions to compile these inventories. Relevant categories of traditional knowledge could include: medicinal knowledge, including related medicines and remedies; agricultural knowledge; scientific knowledge and technical knowledge. The Secretariat would particularly welcome information relating to existing traditional knowledge-related national publications and databases compiled by and/or with the prior informed consent of local communities and traditional peoples.
Inventory of existing periodicals, journals or gazettes:
- WIPO would appreciate receiving the following details of national periodicals, journals or gazettes concerning traditional knowledge-related issues:
A. Full Title:
B. Publisher’s name & contact details:
C. Summary of content of publication:
D. Publication ISSN number:
E. Format of publication (paper, online, CD-ROM, Microfilm etc):
F. Internet Address, where appropriate:
G. Language(s) of publication:
H. Frequency of publication (weekly, monthly, annual etc):
Examples of relevant national publications may be:
- The Honeybee Newsletter, published by the Society for Research into Sustainable Technologies and Institutions, Ahmedabad, India;
- Le Voix du Paysan, published by SAILD, Yaounde, Cameroon;
- The Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor, published by the Nuffic Centre for International Research and Advisory Network; and
- The Journal of Ethnopharmacology, published by Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
Inventory of existing online traditional knowledge-related databases:
- WIPO would appreciate receiving the following details of online databases concerning traditional knowledge-related information:
A. Internet address;
B. Database title:
C. Summary of content of database:
D. Name, contact details of compiler(s) of database; individual(s), institutions, communities etc:
E. Name and contact details of publisher(s) of database:
F. Approximate size of database: i.e. number of entries:
G. Language of database:
Examples of relevant databases may be:
- Please send all relevant information to The Global Intellectual Property Issues Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or at WIPO, 34, chemin des Colombettes, 1211, Geneva 20 (Switzerland), Fax 41 22 338 8120.
- Thank you, in advance, for your help in this matter. Please feel free to forward this message to any other individuals, institutions or communities who may be in a position to make a useful contribution to either of these tasks.