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Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources, Customary Law and Intellectual Property

A Global Primer

Paul Kuruk

The book examines the national, regional and international frameworks of protection of traditional knowledge in all regions of the world. It also discusses options to enhance the existing legal regimes including the use of customary laws and protocols; the adoption of mutual recognition agreements premised on the principle of reciprocity; and the disclosure of source or country of origin of traditional knowledge in intellectual property applications.
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Chapter 5: Folklore, cultural heritage and traditional knowledge

Paul Kuruk


The chapter describes initiatives by WIPO and UNESCO for the protection of folklore beginning with the development of guidelines for copyright legislation and model provisions on national intellectual property law, followed by efforts to develop an international instrument. It highlights other measures adopted by UNESCO, including recommendations on folklore, and instruments to curb illicit trade in cultural property, protect natural and cultural heritage, safeguard intangible cultural heritage, and promote the diversity of cultural expressions. The chapter also touches on a renewed focus on traditional knowledge by WIPO in the late 1990s through fact-finding missions to identify the needs and expectations of rights-holders in different regions of the world and how they could be addressed under intellectual property law. These efforts culminated in the establishment by WIPO in 2000 of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore to facilitate discussions on traditional knowledge.

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