Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Swakopmund Protocol: history made, but have you got a copy?

An excited media release from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) pressroom proclaims that WIPO Director General Francis Gurry "welcomes moves to enhance protection of traditional knowledge and folklore in Africa". The occasion for this is the adoption by member states of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) of a new legal instrument that seeks to protect African traditional knowledge and folklore -- the Swakopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Folklore. This is seen as “an historic step for ARIPO’s seventeen member states, and a significant milestone in the evolution of intellectual property.”

The Protocol, designed to preserve and protect the use of Africa’s diverse knowledge systems and cultures for the continent’s sustainable development, will enter into force following ratification by six ARIPO member states.

Says Afro Leo, I've searched the WIPO website under "Swakopmund" (Namibia) but have yet to locate a copy of the Protocol. Does anyone have one which they can share with us?


Darren said...

André Myburgh ( leaves this comment:

The Protocol, as I understand it, is actually still a draft. Everything is on ARIPO’s website. The protocol is here , the regulations are here and something on policy is here . I don’t think they’ve been able to fully deal with the thorny legal issues that affect TK protection, like the definition and proper representation of a “community” for the purpose of owning and licensing TK, and the fact that TK is often common to different communities.

Look out for an article by me appearing in September’s Without Prejudice, which is a follow-up on the Alice “biopiracy of TK” story in the AfroLeo blog of some months ago. Turns out what was said in the newspapers, which in turn was derived from the parties’ own press releases, was mostly horseradishes.

Best regards

Thanks André - looking forward to reading the WP article!

Craig Kahn said...

That is correct, the Protocol and Regulations on the ARIPO website are the drafts as they were before the conference. I have been informed that a number of changes were made at a technical seminar the week before and at the conference itself.

Craig Kahn
Spoor & Fisher