The WIPO office in Geneva The WIPO office in Geneva 

Holy See welcomes ‘significant’ new treaty on intellectual property

The Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the UN in Geneva says that a new international treaty represents a major step towards a “dynamic, forward-looking” IP system.

By Joseph Tulloch

Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, has welcomed a historic new treaty on intellectual property.

In an address to members states of the UN's World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the Archbishop called the treaty a “significant step forward”.

The treaty

WIPO member states adopted the agreement – which regards “Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge – in May of this year.

The treaty establishes a new disclosure requirement in international law for patent applicants whose inventions are based on genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge.

It was the first WIPO treaty in over a decade, as well as the first to ever deal with the genetic resources and traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples.

At the time, WIPO’s Director General said that the treaty showed the Intellectual Property system could “continue to incentivize innovation” while “evolving in a more inclusive way, responding to the needs of all countries and their communities.”

A 'signficant step'

In his speech - an address to the 65th Series of the Assemblies of WIPO Member States - Archbishop Balestrero said that the treaty is a “significant step” toward a “dynamic forward-looking IP [Intellectual Property] system.”

He noted that the Holy See appreciates the emphasis on “the participation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities” in manner that “is sensitive to the specific cultural and juridical contexts in which they live.”

The Archbishop added that the treaty would help promote the “revitalization of negotiations on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions” at a diplomatic level.

Moreover, the Archbishop said, the Holy See views as “crucial” the fact that the treaty was achieved by consensus.

Archbishop Balestrero brought his speech to a close by reaffirming the Holy See’s commitment to future collaboration with WIPO, “in order to foster constructive dialogue with the objective of advancing the IP-system”.

This, he said, is part of the Holy See’s broader commitment to supporting Integral Human Development.

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10 July 2024, 14:40