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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 12: Complementary laws and policies

Paul Kuruk


The chapter examines the implications of proposals for improving the legal regime on traditional knowledge through use of complementary laws and policies. It is noted that moral rights could protect against derogatory uses of traditional knowledge but may not be readily applicable to community interests and that a domaine public payant system needs to be enhanced by ensuring a fair return to traditional communities of the fees collected for uses of traditional knowledge. In addition, some types of traditional knowledge may fall outside the scope of unfair competition and trade secrets laws on account of definitional issues in the statutory regimes. Furthermore, contractual agreements may be of limited use in cases of misappropriation that have international dimensions. Finally, a documentation strategy should be taken with caution and proper controls must be put in place to legally protect the database and its contents from unauthorized use and exploitation.

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