Indonesia is preparing an inventory of its traditional and cultural products prior to registering them with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Director general of intellectual property rights Andy Noorsaman Sommeng said that his directorate would cooperate with local administrations in preparing the inventory.
"A national team has been working on this preparation, including the drafting of a law that hopefully will be enacted next year," he said.
The WIPO is a specialized agency of the United Nations whose goal is to develop a balanced and accessible international intellectual property system. It rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest.
"Previously, we registered natural heritage products for copyright with UNESCO. Now, we are more intensively focused on traditional cultural products," Andy said.
"We are now shifting to the creativity industry which offers more ideas and innovations," Andy added.
Indonesia has registered seven properties already, which the world heritage committee of UNESCO considers as having outstanding universal values.
Those seven properties are the Borobudur and Prambanan temple compounds; Komodo, Ujung Kulon and Lorentz national parks; the Sangiran early man site; and the tropical rain forests of Sumatra.
"Traditional cultural products are now a new issue in our directorate," said the director of copyright, industrial design and trade secrets at the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights, Ansori Sinungan.
"We have to protect our traditional cultural products like traditional songs, dances, games, crafts and rituals by registering them with WIPO," Ansori said.
"And we have to coordinate with local administrations in collecting the inventory of these products, because only the local administrations know what their regions have," he said.
Ansori also said that the purpose of registering the ownership of those products was to protect their economic rights.
"The patent for traditional herbal medicine is one of the examples. Developed countries doing research on our traditional herbs sell their drugs to us while requiring us to pay for the patents," he said.
He said that to promote awareness of the importance of registering copyrights, the directorate launched an information center on intellectual property rights Monday.
"The purpose of establishing this information center is to educate the public on the importance of intellectual property rights," Ansori said. (rff)