PositionPaper for the World Intellectual Property OrganizationThe subjectsenclosed in the World Intellectual Property Organization are ‘Defining andMeasuring Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property’ and’Protecting Indigenous People’s Intellectual Property in DocumentingTraditional Medical Knowledge’. WIPO is one of the oldest bureaus in the UnitedNations, it existed in 1833 in the Paris Convention, and it joined the UN in1974. The World Intellectual Property Organization is held accountable for securingand preserving genuine innovations such as arts, literary pieces, and medicinaldrugs, it also prevents and avoids fraudulent ones.
New Zealand has been anassociate of WIPO for over 33 years and it has taken actions to sustain andprotect intellectual property rights.I. Definingand Measuring Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property.Intellectualproperty is often known as an invention or creation that is legally protectedby patents, trademarks or copyrights. Intellectual property has existed longago, although, there was limited knowledge about it. Over the years, with thedevelopment of technology and globalization, the ideology of intellectualproperty started expanding worldwide, especially in first world countries,whereas the third world countries and some developing countries have eitherlimited knowledge or no access to intellectual property at all.
NewZealand, being considered as a first world country, holds responsibility forproviding its people with sufficient knowledge about intellectual property. Thatis why in 2010, New Zealand was the first country in the world to include “IPteaching” in its national curriculum. New Zealand’slong history with intellectual property made it gain the 21st rank inthe amount of patents signed, according to WIPO statistics that was released in2014. New Zealand has taken advantage of the developing world to improve its IntellectualProperty Offices and Intellectual Property website which provide officialcertification of patents, trademarks or designs, as well as tips and guidelinesabout intellectual property for all interested parties, not just New Zealanders.NewZealand’s national library looks forward to implementing “knowledge resources”about the country through libraries, institutions and on websites to all NewZealanders by the year 2030. This will make knowledge more accessible to NewZealanders; thus, the knowledge of intellectual property will increase andbecome more approachable.
Thelack of knowledge in intellectual property could lead to numerousmisunderstandings and negative consequences such as criminal penalties in somecountries for “trademark infringement” to those who are naïve about it. Withthe trade world expanding day by day, it is necessary to educate people aboutthe importance of intellectual property. It is an issue that has to berecognized.
II. ProtectingIndigenous People’s Intellectual Property in Documenting Traditional MedicalKnowledge.Traditionalmedicine also known as ancient medicine, involves the use of traditionaltechniques or herbal supplements as a way of healing. It was used by theprimitives in different communities in various ways before the development ofmodern medicine. Since it is ancient, the practice of using traditionalmedicine as a common cure started to get rare, this risks the future of traditionalmedicine which has shown it is a good, simple and affordable way to get cured;it may not only cause the use of traditional medicine to extinct, but theknowledge about it too.
Although, traditional medicine could be found in themain ingredients of modern drugs, yet it is not credited or acknowledged.NewZealand is known for having different ethnicities, and one of these ethnicitiesis M?ori — the indigenous or nativepeople of New Zealand –. New Zealand has always and still is protecting the M?oriculture and knowledge. It has previously recognized the issue with protectingits indigenous people’s rights and intellectual property.
The conflict seems tobe a bit complex, yet there are laws and patents that were changed and addedregarding the M?ori intellectual property. In 2002, a M?ori Advisory Committeewas founded; its target was to investigate if a trademark is consideredinappropriate or offensive to the M?ori culture.In the present years, M?ori intellectual propertiesbecame more important and cared for.
In 2013, another M?oriadvisory committee was created for patents. It was made to protect their indigenousknowledge and to review previous patents that may have roots from M?ori culture.Again, New Zealand’s national library looks forward to inspire the creation anduse of M?ori knowledge in hopes of saving the M?ori language.Sincepreserving rights to a specific traditional medicine is not very complicated, NewZealand has taken actions to ensure the rights of M?oris with theirinnovations. One of the M?ori cultural aspects that are protected byintellectual property is “Indigenous plants or birds”; most of M?ori traditionalmedicines contain their unique herbals which are now protected by New Zealand’sintellectual property.Thelack of references to M?ori traditional knowledge may lead to its extinction. Increasingawareness about the importance of indigenous people’s intellectual property andthe consequences of its extinction is necessary.
It is a controversy that hasto be endorsed.