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This Report presents information compiled by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from nine fact-finding missions conducted by WIPO in 1998 and 1999 on the intellectual property (IP) needs and expectations of holders of traditional knowledge (TK).

The fact-finding missions (the FFMs) were designed to enable WIPO to identify, as far as possible, the IP needs and expectations of TK holders. While the needs of TK holders have been referred to in other international fora, there has been to date no systematic global exercise by international organizations to document and assess, first-hand, the IP-related needs of TK holders. As the United Nations specialized agency responsible for the promotion of the protection of IP, WIPO undertook the FFMs as part of a new programme of activities, initiated in 1998, to explore and study current approaches to, and future possibilities for, the protection of the IP rights of holders of TK.

The purpose of the Report is to provide information to WIPO Member States, holders of TK, including indigenous peoples, the private sector, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic and research institutions and other interested parties, on the IP needs and expectations of TK holders expressed to WIPO during the FFMs.

It is expected that the findings of this Report will be discussed with WIPO Member States and others with a view, particularly, to defining and guiding future WIPO activities on the protection of TK.