Table of Contents

Indigenous Intellectual Property

Indigenous Intellectual Property

A Handbook of Contemporary Research

Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Matthew Rimmer

This Handbook considers the international struggle to provide for proper and just protection of Indigenous intellectual property. Leading scholars consider legal and policy controversies over Indigenous knowledge in the fields of international law, copyright law, trademark law, patent law, trade secrets law, and cultural heritage. This collection examines national developments in Indigenous intellectual property from around the world. As well as examining the historical origins of conflicts over Indigenous knowledge, the volume examines new challenges to Indigenous intellectual property from emerging developments in information technology, biotechnology, and climate change.

Chapter 23: Intellectual property protection of traditional knowledge and access to knowledge in South Africa

Caroline Ncube

Subjects: law - academic, cultural heritage and art law, human rights, intellectual property law


South Africa’s intellectual property protection of traditional knowledge is encapsulated in the Policy Framework for the Protection of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge through the Intellectual Property System (Traditional Knowledge Intellectual Property Policy) and the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 28 2013 (South Africa) which has not yet come into force. This Act does not provide for amendments to patent legislation as this was done in 2005. It concerns itself only with amendments to the Performers’ Protection Act 1967 (South Africa), the Copyright Act 1978 (South Africa), the Trademarks Act 1993 (South Africa) and the Designs Act 1993 (South Africa). Of these, this chapter discusses only the proposed copyright amendments from an Access to Knowledge (A2K) perspective. South Africa’s First Nations people are the Khoe-San who are made up of several distinct groups who reside in different areas of the country and constitute 1 per cent of the population. South Africa’s total population was recorded as 51,770,560 by the last census conducted in 2011. Statistics SA reports that 79.2 per cent of the population is Black African, 8.9 per cent is White, 8.9 per cent is Coloured, 2.5 per cent is Indian or Asian and 0.5 per cent is unclassified or other. It has been noted that many Khoe-San did not participate in the census, finding these categories to be inadequate in providing an appropriate cultural or ethnic category for them. The Khoe-San who participated in the census had no choice but to identify themselves as Coloured or other.

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