The upcoming diplomatic conference (Dip Con) on genetic resources (GR) convened by WIPO at its Geneva headquarters from 13-24 May 2024 holds significant implications for FICPI members, whose work often intersects with the domains of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and environmental technologies.

The outcome of this conference could reshape the landscape of intellectual property rights in relation to genetic resources, influencing both the practice and policy advocacy of FICPI members. The conference should finalise the International Legal Instrument on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources, and Traditional Knowledge Associated with Genetic Resources.

Impact on IP strategy and client advisory

The conference's outcome on genetic resources and the disclosure of these could necessitate a re-evaluation of IP strategies. This is particularly so for clients involved in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, who often rely heavily on genetic resources for research and development. FICPI members will need to stay abreast of these changes to provide accurate, forward-looking advice to clients navigating these new regulatory environments.

International collaboration and harmonisation

The diplomatic conference is a testament to the global nature of genetic resources and the desire for international cooperation in their management. For FICPI members, this underscores the importance of understanding not just the domestic IP laws of their jurisdictions but also the international agreements and protocols that govern genetic resources globally.

Should an instrument be agreed, the disclosure of the source of a GR used in an invention will have an impact on international filing and enforcement strategies for clients making use of GRs.

New challenges in enforcement and litigation

With a new international instrument, there are likely to be new challenges in enforcing IP rights and resolving disputes, especially in cases involving genetic resources that cross national boundaries. FICPI members, particularly those specializing in litigation, will need to navigate these emerging challenges, which may involve complex jurisdictional issues and the application of international law.

Opportunities for capacity building and advocacy

Finally, the Dip Con may open opportunities for FICPI members to engage in capacity building, both within their practices and in the broader legal and business communities. Educating clients, policymakers, and the public about the implications of the conference's outcomes on IP rights and innovation could enhance FICPI's role as a leader in IP advocacy.

In conclusion, the Dip Con on GR is set to impact various aspects of intellectual property practice and policy relevant to FICPI members. Staying informed and proactive in responding to these developments will be important for effectively advising clients, protecting their interests, and contributing to the evolution of IP law in the realm of genetic resources.

Next steps

Any of the national groups which are aware of their intellectual property office having expressed a position on this topic, should please feed that information through to Rowan Joseph.

If you would like to become involved in this topic, please contact Robert Watson or Rowan Joseph.

Read more about the Diplomatic Conference, including official WIPO documents, at

Read Rowan’s previous article on this topic at:

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