Economists and business people as well as government officials are meeting in Hawaii to discuss trade and development issues in the Pacific Ocean region.
The Pacific Trade and Development Conference in Honolulu is to hear a conference paper on intellectual property rights.
An University of Hawaii Professor, Sumner La Croix, says indigenous innovations haven't been protected very well by the system of global intellectual property rights.
"Main reason why we have a patent system is to ensure that we have a system that will encourage innovation. At the same time, that doesn't mean people who develop new products should just be able to pick out of a common pool of resources in developing countries, and use those resources for free."
Professor La Croix says even the poorest countries have to have systems of patents, trademarks and copyrighting, under 1994 World Trade Organisation rules.