New law to protect traditional knowledge

by Medindia Content Team on Feb 19 2006 4:12 PM

A new law has come into existence to protect the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities. Charles McManis, J.D., IP and technology law expert, Thomas and Karole Green Professor of Law, at Washington University in St. Louis has come with various ideas. This is mainly done to fit the existing rules of the industrialized world to promote the interest of the local communities.

They said that existing intellectual property regimes offer highly secure and effective legal protection for traditional knowledge holders.

McManis presented a paper on this topic during the "Ancient Wisdom/Contemporary Science: Traditional Knowledge in the 21st Century.

He says that the existing IP rules is closely related to the law of unfair competition, and associated contractual mechanisms. This would provide the best legal protection for the traditional knowledge of indigenous people.

But minor modification should be done to protect the genetic resources of the developing countries. It would also prevent biopiracy. On the other hand creating a completely new system is very tedious and has lot of complications involved in it.

Apart from practical difficulties various theoretical difficulties are also witnessed. They are enclosure of the origin of relevant genetic resources; evidence of prior informed consent, associated traditional knowledge as a condition area few to name. Hence the current law itself with minor modification is a valid intellectual property rights.