An initiative to create an international database containing the traditional uses of plants and animals has been made at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). It is hoped that the database will help resolve disputes over whether varieties and species can be commercially patented. The Swiss government released a paper during this week's meeting of the WTO's Council on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights, (TRIPs), saying: "When determining the novelty and inventive step of an invention... one of the major problems that... authorities face is the accessibility of... this knowledge." Because this is often transmitted orally, said Switzerland, "a database on traditional knowledge could substantially improve this situation."