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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 14: Preventing misappropriation: the disclosure requirement

Paul Kuruk


The chapter examines another approach to the protection of traditional knowledge which calls for the amendment of intellectual property laws to require disclosure in patent applications of the source or origin of genetic resources or traditional knowledge relevant to the claims in the applications. Such disclosure, it is contended, would be useful in tackling the problem of biopiracy. The chapter illustrates the negative effects of biopiracy drawing on selected cases from Africa, India and the Americas and traces the evolution of the obligation to disclose from provisions in national model laws and a draft treaty on folklore prepared by WIPO, to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Bonn Guidelines as well as proposals before the TRIPS Council of the World Trade Organization. The chapter reviews WIPO’s current program on the disclosure requirement and evaluates the latest proposals contained in the texts used as the bases of negotiations in WIPO.

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