Shared Traditional Knowledge and the WIPO IGC: Intellectual Property-based Options and Considerations Towards Effective Protection

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 1:15 PM - 2:45 PM EST (UTC–05:00)
Private Event: Panel Discussion

The WIPO IGC continues to negotiate the text(s) of an International instrument(s) that will ensure the effective protection of traditional knowledge. One problematic area of interest within the WIPO negotiations relates to the uncertainty around protection mechanisms occasioned by the issue of shared traditional knowledge (TK) shared by more than one independent Indigenous community within the same country or across separate borders. In such instances, how has the utilization of TK been defined; how are multiple claims to TK resolved; how have benefits, including IP claims, been negotiated and/or distributed across relevant communities; and, what best practices offer insight to efforts to develop effective norms in this area?

In support of the ongoing work of the IGC, this panel will highlight how IP issues arising from the use of shared traditional knowledge have been addressed in varying regions of the world. Examples from Africa, North America, and Asia will be highlighted to demonstrate some of the challenges that countries have faced, as well as some of the innovative approaches that have been developed in implementing policies/mechanisms around the governance of shared TK.


  • Bassem Awad, Deputy Director, International Intellectual Property Law and Innovation, CIGI (Moderator)
  • Wend Wendland, Director, Traditional Knowledge Division, WIPO  
  • Kathy Hodgson-Smith, Canadian Indigenous Law Expert   
  • Chidi Oguamanam, Professor, University of Ottawa, Canada & CIGI Senior Fellow 
  • Jennifer Tauli-Corpuz, Legal Officer, Tebtebba Foundation – Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education, Philippines  
  • Margo Bagley, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law & CIGI Senior Fellow