This is an important time for protection of tribal cultural resources. The World Intellectual Property Organization, an agency of the United Nations, is considering the adoption of an agreement among countries to protect the traditional cultural expressions of indigenous peoples. The WIPO Committee charged with this task will hold an important session in Geneva, Switzerland on June 12-16, 2017.
On May 4-5, 2017, the Native American Rights Fund and the University of Colorado Law School hosted a drafting session to propose text for the upcoming negotiations. The attached draft focuses on the problem of theft and illegal possession of tribal cultural expressions. It also addresses false marketing suggesting affiliation, approval or endorsement by indigenous peoples.
At the NCAI Midyear at Mohegan, Connecticut, NCAI will host a consultation session with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the federal agency that engages with WIPO, on June 12, 2017. This coincides with the first day of the negotiation in Geneva, and so the federal officials leading negotiations for the U.S. government will join by conference call.
We encourage you to review the draft, and please join us at the June 12, 2017 consultation with the Patent & Trademark Office at the NCAI Midyear. (Even better, please contact us if you have questions on how to attend the negotiation in Geneva.) You can view the most recent draft document under discussion at WIPO here. <http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/doc_details.jsp?doc_id=368102>
Thank you very much for your attention to this keenly important issue.