Position in the world to include “IP teaching” in

Position
Paper for the World Intellectual Property Organization

The subjects
enclosed in the World Intellectual Property Organization are ‘Defining and
Measuring Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property’ and
‘Protecting Indigenous People’s Intellectual Property in Documenting
Traditional Medical Knowledge’. WIPO is one of the oldest bureaus in the United
Nations, it existed in 1833 in the Paris Convention, and it joined the UN in
1974. The World Intellectual Property Organization is held accountable for securing
and preserving genuine innovations such as arts, literary pieces, and medicinal
drugs, it also prevents and avoids fraudulent ones. New Zealand has been an
associate of WIPO for over 33 years and it has taken actions to sustain and
protect intellectual property rights.

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I.                  
Defining
and Measuring Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property.

Intellectual
property is often known as an invention or creation that is legally protected
by patents, trademarks or copyrights. Intellectual property has existed long
ago, although, there was limited knowledge about it. Over the years, with the
development of technology and globalization, the ideology of intellectual
property started expanding worldwide, especially in first world countries,
whereas the third world countries and some developing countries have either
limited knowledge or no access to intellectual property at all.

New
Zealand, being considered as a first world country, holds responsibility for
providing its people with sufficient knowledge about intellectual property. That
is why in 2010, New Zealand was the first country in the world to include “IP
teaching” in its national curriculum. New Zealand’s
long history with intellectual property made it gain the 21st rank in
the amount of patents signed, according to WIPO statistics that was released in
2014. New Zealand has taken advantage of the developing world to improve its Intellectual
Property Offices and Intellectual Property website which provide official
certification of patents, trademarks or designs, as well as tips and guidelines
about intellectual property for all interested parties, not just New Zealanders.

New
Zealand’s national library looks forward to implementing “knowledge resources”
about the country through libraries, institutions and on websites to all New
Zealanders by the year 2030. This will make knowledge more accessible to New
Zealanders; thus, the knowledge of intellectual property will increase and
become more approachable.

The
lack of knowledge in intellectual property could lead to numerous
misunderstandings and negative consequences such as criminal penalties in some
countries for “trademark infringement” to those who are naïve about it. With
the trade world expanding day by day, it is necessary to educate people about
the importance of intellectual property. It is an issue that has to be
recognized.

II.               
Protecting
Indigenous People’s Intellectual Property in Documenting Traditional Medical
Knowledge.

Traditional
medicine also known as ancient medicine, involves the use of traditional
techniques or herbal supplements as a way of healing. It was used by the
primitives in different communities in various ways before the development of
modern medicine. Since it is ancient, the practice of using traditional
medicine as a common cure started to get rare, this risks the future of traditional
medicine 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 the
knowledge about it too. Although, traditional medicine could be found in the
main ingredients of modern drugs, yet it is not credited or acknowledged.

New
Zealand is known for having different ethnicities, and one of these ethnicities
is M?ori  — the indigenous or native
people of New Zealand –. New Zealand has always and still is protecting the M?ori
culture and knowledge. It has previously recognized the issue with protecting
its indigenous people’s rights and intellectual property. The conflict seems to
be a bit complex, yet there are laws and patents that were changed and added
regarding the M?ori intellectual property. In 2002, a M?ori Advisory Committee
was founded; its target was to investigate if a trademark is considered
inappropriate or offensive to the M?ori culture.

In the present years, M?ori intellectual properties
became more important and cared for. In 2013, another M?ori
advisory committee was created for patents. It was made to protect their indigenous
knowledge 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 and
use of M?ori knowledge in hopes of saving the M?ori language.

Since
preserving rights to a specific traditional medicine is not very complicated, New
Zealand has taken actions to ensure the rights of M?oris with their
innovations. One of the M?ori cultural aspects that are protected by
intellectual property is “Indigenous plants or birds”; most of M?ori traditional
medicines contain their unique herbals which are now protected by New Zealand’s
intellectual property.

The
lack of references to M?ori traditional knowledge may lead to its extinction. Increasing
awareness about the importance of indigenous people’s intellectual property and
the consequences of its extinction is necessary. It is a controversy that has
to be endorsed.