Intellectual Property and Access to Im/material Goods

Intellectual Property and Access to Im/material Goods

Elgar Law, Technology and Society series

Edited by Jessica C. Lai and Antoinette Maget Dominicé

Traditionally, in order to be protected intellectual property goods have almost always needed to be embodied or materialised (and – to a certain extent – to be used and enjoyed), regardless of whether they were copyrighted works, patented inventions or trademarks. This book examines the relationship between intellectual property and its physical embodiments and materialisations, with a focus on the issue of access and the challenges of new technologies. Expert contributors explore how these problems can re-shape our theoretical notion of the intangible and the tangible and how this can have serious consequences for access to intellectual property goods.

Chapter 9: The negotiations in WIPO for international conventions on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions

Michael Blakeney

Subjects: innovation and technology, intellectual property, law - academic, cultural heritage and art law, intellectual property law


This chapter looks at the agitation surrounding the commodification of the knowledge and cultural expressions of traditional and indigenous peoples. One of the difficulties in fitting traditional knowledge and cultural expressions into the intellectual property paradigm is that traditional peoples do not distinguish between the tangible and intangible, but take a holistic view in which these concepts are merged, as is the past with the future. This has generated the argument that some other form of law might be more appropriate for its protection. These conceptual difficulties for intellectual property lawyers explains, in part, the tortured negotiations within WIPO’s Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) since its creation in 2000 concerning the formulation of international conventions to protect traditional knowledge and cultural expressions

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