In fall of 2022, as an adjunct event to the National Congress of American Indians 79th Annual Convention, The Implementation Project held a panel entitled: Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to Protect Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Expressions: A Preview of Upcoming Consultations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The panel of tribal representatives, intellectual property experts, and others involved in World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) negotiations provided background on rights, key issues under negotiation, and the positions of Indigenous representatives and the United States on these issues. The panel was designed to help Tribal Nations better understand WIPO negotiations, use the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to protect traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, and prepare for related consultations with the USPTO.  Although a date for the consultations has not yet been announced, they are anticipated to occur in the first half of 2023.

Photos of panel presenters
Special thanks to the panel presenters: Susan Anthony, USPTO; Aaron Jones, Tulalip Tribes of Washington; Lauren van Schilfgaarde, UCLA School of Law; Frank Ettawageshik, NCAI Representative at WIPO Negotiations; June Lorenzo, Attorney & Chief Judge Pueblo of Zia; Sue Noe, Native American Rights Fund & Co-Director of The Implementation Project; Jason Searle, Native American Rights Fund.

If you and your tribe would like to learn more about protecting your intellectual property and preparing for the upcoming consultations, we have gathered some resources for your review:

Information from the United States Patent and Trademark Office
Related USPTO resources, including a webinar outlining the federal government’s positions on issues relating to intellectual property, press releases, and more.

NCAI’s 2022 Resolution regarding the World Intellectual Property Organization negotiations
At NCAI’s 79th Annual Convention, NCAI passed Resolution SAC-22-038 calling for immediate intergovernmental  meetings with the federal government regarding the World Intellectual Property Organization negotiations.

Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Traditional Cultural Expressions, World Intellectual Property Organization (2020)
General information on the interface between intellectual property and traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, and genetic resources.

Protect and Promote Your Culture: A Practical Guide to Intellectual Property for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, World Intellectual Property Organization (2017)
A short guide with examples of how Indigenous Peoples and local communities around the world have made the most of existing intellectual property rights protections.

Interested in learning more about protecting the intellectual property of tribal nations?

Watch Related Webinars hosted by The Implementation Project partner entities — the Native American Rights Fund and the University of Colorado Law School — together with the National Congress of American Indians:

Still have questions? You can contact The Implementation Project at

Preparing for Upcoming Indigenous Knowledge Consultations