Traditional knowledge itself is a living body of knowledge, which constitutes a part of its holders’ cultural or spiritual identity, and can also be continuously created as knowledge resources to form new knowledge, so that they can benefit from the protection of the intellectual property system. In recent years, through reasonable institutional arrangements and moderate market development, more and more countries and regions are promoting sustainable development of traditional communities through fair trade. When traditional knowledge products enter the market, the most common form globally is to share the benefits of traditional knowledge by contract. This article takes the case of traditional knowledge marketization in China as its research sample, summarizing four typical traditional knowledge benefit-sharing modes. By considering stakeholders’ motivation, purpose and negotiation ability in different modes, we find that the commonly agreed conditions with the contract as the main method show substantial unfairness characteristics, and put forward the corresponding optimization scheme of a benefit-sharing mode. The central argument is that substantive fairness should be the main principle of any traditional knowledge benefit-sharing system to ensure the sustainable development of traditional communities, and make the experience of China available for the international benefit sharing of conventional knowledge property.
Corresponding author: email@example.com. The research for this article was funded by the National Social Science Fund of China (Grant No. 16 ZDA236) and the Curriculum Construction Project Fund of Tongji University (Grant No. 2021KCSZKC31).
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