A Continental Approach to Protecting Traditional Knowledge Systems and Related Resources in Africa
25 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2011
Date Written: July 1, 2009
This paper concedes to the notion that the protection of African traditional knowledge systems at the regional level is urgently required. The disharmony and tension between the two existing, recognised and funtional regional organisations - Organisation Africaine de la Propriete Intellectuelle (OAPI) and African Regional Industrial Property Organisation (ARIPO) has contributed to the delay in the creation of harmonized laws protecting African traditional knowledge systems. Nonetheless, it is imperative to seek an appropriate porotection mechanism and emphasise the opinion that regional protection mechanisms should reflect the needs and customary ways of traditional peoples. Harmonisation of regional protection mechanisms will ensure the protection of African indigenous products including traditional knowledge, genetic resources, folklore, brands and values. The bottom up approach advocating legal and knowledge pluralism is an unavoidable feature of African communities and should be considered in establishing a regional legal framework. The coming together of African nations help to ensure that emerging international law gives recognition to their position on various intellectual property issues and there is increased awareness and coordination among these nations.
Keywords: Intellectual Property, Traditional Knowledge, Regional, Biological, Pan-African, Africa
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