The International Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology Research (ICABR)


Intellectual Property Aspects of Traditional Agricultural Knowledge

Michael Blakeney
Herchel Smith,
Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute,
Queen Mary,
University of London

The role of the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples in the development of pharmaceutical products has been the subject of considerable discussion in recent years. This discussion has involved a consideration of the possibility of intellectual property protection for traditional knowledge and the extent to which this knowledge in facilitating the access to genetic resources, should be the subject of benefit sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Less widely discussed has been the role of traditional knowledge in the identification of crop types and in the development of new crop varieties. This paper examines the significance of traditional knowledge for agricultural innovations and the possibilities for the protection of this knowledge within the context of the CBD and the WTO agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Finally, the paper considers the possibilitis for the protection of traditional agricultural knowledge within the context of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources.

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