Traditional Knowledge: Are We Closer to the Answers? The Potential Role of Geographical Indications
Daniel J. Gervais
Vanderbilt University - Law School
April 5, 2009
ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 551-567, 2009
Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 09-18
The debate concerning the protection of, and access to, “traditional knowledge” has been going on for some time. Academics, governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, and representatives of indigenous communities have made arguments on many different levels. The most interesting debates are normative in nature: What should international law do about traditional knowledge? Is protection desirable? To what end? Equally interesting is the somewhat more technical debate about how we can proceed to implement some of the (tentative) normative conclusions. The normative debate is situated at the confluence of intellectual property law, cultural studies, ethnology and anthropology. In this short paper, I take a brief tour of this policy garden and suggest that, for at least some forms of traditional knowledge, the protection of geographical indications may offer a partial solution, and that implementing this protection would not be inordinately difficult using the existing Lisbon Agreement.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: Traditional Knowledge, Geographical Indications, Appellations of Origin, Lisbon Agreement
JEL Classification: K10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 6, 2009 ; Last revised: December 4, 2009
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