Full Title Name:  All Hands On Deck: Biopiracy & the Available Protections for Traditional Knowledge

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Shannon F. Smith Place of Publication:  Michigan State University College of Law Publish Year:  2014 Primary Citation:  10 J. Animal & Nat. Resource L. 273
Summary: As the United States and other developed countries seek better protections for their intellectual property, Southern developing countries rich in biological resources seek better protections for these resources and the knowledge of their indigenous peoples. The story goes that Northern scientists are bioprospecting within Southern countries and obtaining knowledge about traditional plants and their uses from the countries’ native people. The Northern scientists then take this traditional knowledge and develop new uses or products, which they patent in their own countries. They do this, however, without compensating the indigenous groups who initially supplied the base knowledge. The indigenous people also claim that the cost of medicine and other goods rises, as their traditional knowledge may now come with a licensing fee. This Note discusses “traditional knowledge,” as this indigenous knowledge has been termed. It looks at what this knowledge is and the difficulties in defining it. It further looks at the problems traditional knowledge presents in terms of finding a solution both parties are satisfied with. As traditional knowledge generally does not fit in the Western concept of protectable intellectual property, this Note looks to the problems this conflict between differing property systems creates. Finally, this Note considers the current protections that are available for individual tribes or nations to choose between to fit their own individual needs, despite numerous failed attempts to integrate such protections into international treaties.
Documents:  All Hands On Deck.pdf
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