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In 2002, the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at its Sixth Meeting adopted the Bonn Guidelines to address access to genetic resources and fair and equitable benefit-sharing arising from use of those resources. In the Bonn Guidelines, the CBD COP invited Parties and governments to encourage disclosure of the country of origin of genetic resources and of associated traditional knowledge in applications for intellectual property where the subject matter of the application concerns or makes use of such knowledge in its development. Since 2002, various proposals to facilitate or to mandate such “disclosure of origin” requirements within the world intellectual property law system have been submitted by countries to intergovernmental organizations, notably the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In 2004, at its Seventh Meeting, the CBD COP, in Decision VII/19, invited WIPO and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to analyse issues relating to implementation of disclosure of origin requirements in the intellectual property law system.

This analysis was commissioned by the UNCTAD secretariat as a contribution to its response to the CBD COP’s invitation. However, the views in this document do not necessarily reflect the views of UNCTAD or the authors’ institutions. The analysis is intended to make a thorough, practical, and substantive contribution to discussions on the topics identified above. It builds upon prior analyses of these issues by the authors, by WIPO, by various countries, and in a growing body of literature.


Advance copy of UNCTAD/DITC/TED/2005/14.