26. Januar 2004
Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights
The Current State of Play at the International Level
What is traditional knowledge? Why has traditional knowledge become the subject of international debate and what is its interrelationship with intellectual property rights (IPRs)? What are the policy objectives of the protection of traditional knowledge and what (legal) mechanisms are available in this regard? And what is the current state of play in the relevant international fora? This paper addresses these questions in the following steps: Because clear terminology is one important means to avoid misunderstandings and thus crucial for a fruitful debate on the issues arising, terminology is addressed at the outset. The paper then provides an overview of the reasons why traditional knowledge has become an issue at the international level. Furthermore, it describes the ways in which traditional knowledge and IPRs can interrelate. Next, the paper lays out possible policy objectives of the protection of traditional knowledge, the legal mechanisms available, and other issues arising in this regard. And finally, it summarizes the current state of play of the discussions on traditional knowledge at the international level.
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