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Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions and Intellectual Property Law in the Asia-Pacific Region

By Christoph Antons


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Among the many contentious matters thrown up by the relentless march of economic globalization, those forms of knowledge variously known as ‘indigenous’ or ‘traditional’ remain seriously threatened, despite numerous transnational initiatives and highly publicized debate. It is not proving easy to bring these holistic worldviews into accordance with the technical terms and classifications of intellectual property law.

The contributions in this volume contrast efforts to find solutions and workable models at the international and regional level with experiences on the ground. Legal policies related to ‘indigenous knowledge’ in settler societies such as Australia and New Zealand are compared with those in densely populated neighbouring countries in Asia, where traditional knowledge is often regarded as national heritage. While many of the chapters are written by lawyers using an interdisciplinary approach, other chapters introduce the reader to perspectives from disciplines such as legal sociology and anthropology on controversial issues such as the understandings of ‘art,’ ‘culture,’ ‘tradition,’ ‘customary law’ and the opportunities for traditional cultural knowledge and traditional cultural expressions in an Internet environment.

Experienced observers of the international debate and regional experts discuss international model laws as well as legislation at regional and national level and the role of customary law. Topics covered include the following and much more:

  • the concept of ‘farmers’ rights’;
  • biodiscovery and bioprospecting;
  • traditional knowledge as a commodity;
  • encounters between different legalities;
  • geographical indications;
  • registration requirements;
  • sanctions, remedies, and dispute resolution mechanisms;
  • the ongoing fragmentation and loss of traditional knowledge; and
  • systems of data collection.

The authors provide practical proposals for solutions and models as well as empirical studies of their implementation in various countries.

Given the scope for conflict about the merits of various definitions of the subject matter and the circle of beneficiaries, this book will be of great interest to intellectual property lawyers, representatives of indigenous/local communities and NGOs, policy makers at all levels, and students of comparative and international intellectual property law and of law and development.

Last Updated 03/05/2009
Update Frequency As Needed
Product Line Kluwer Law International
ISBN 9789041127211
SKU 10059596-0001
Table of Contents

1. Introduction; C. Antons. Part One: The International Debate about Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions and Intellectual Property. 2. The International Debate about Traditional Knowledge and Approaches in the Asia-Pacific Region; C. Antons. 3. How Are the Different Views of Traditional Knowledge Linked by International Law and Global Governance? C. Arup. Part Two: Proposals for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions. 4. Protection of Traditional Knowledge by Geographical Indications; M. Blakeney. 5. An Analysis of WIPO’s Latest Proposal and the Model Law 2002 of the Pacific Community for the Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions; S. von Lewinski. 6. The Role of Customary Law and Practice in the Protection of Traditional Knowledge Related to Biological Diversity; B. Tobin. Part Three: Sociological and Anthropological Perspectives and the Revival of Customary Law. 7. Can Modern Law Safeguard Archaic Cultural Expressions? Observations from a Legal Sociology Perspective; C.B. Graber. 8. Branding Identity and Copyrighting Culture: Orientations towards the Customary in Traditional Knowledge Discourse; M. Chanock. 9. ‘Being Indigenous’ in Indonesia and the Philippines; G.A. Persoon. Part Four: The Digitization of Traditional Knowledge. 10. Indigenous Heritage and the Digital Commons; E. Kansa. 11. Traditional Cultural Expression and the Internet World; B. Fitzgerald, S. Hedge. Part Five: Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions in Australia and New Zealand. 12. Cultural Property and ‘the Public Domain’: Case Studies from New Zealand and Australia; S. Frankel, M. Richardson. 13. The Recognition of Traditional Knowledge under Australian Biodiscovery Regimes: Why Bother with Intellectual Property Rights? N. Stoianoff. Part 6: Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions in Various Asian Jurisdictions. 14. Protection of Traditional Knowledge in the SAARC Region and India’s Efforts; S. K. Verma. 15. The Protection of Expressions of Folklore in Sri Lanka; I. Abeyesekere. 16. Traditional Medicine and Intellectual Property Rights: A Case Study of the Indonesian Jamu Industry; C. Antons, R. Antons-Sutanto.