Traditional Knowledge: Are We Closer to the Answers? The Potential Role of Geographical Indications

ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 551-567, 2009

Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 09-18

18 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2009 Last revised: 26 Feb 2014

See all articles by Daniel J. Gervais

Daniel J. Gervais

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: April 5, 2009

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Traditional Knowledge, Geographical Indications, Appellations of Origin, Lisbon Agreement

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Gervais, Daniel J., Traditional Knowledge: Are We Closer to the Answers? The Potential Role of Geographical Indications (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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1444516

Daniel J. Gervais (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615 322 2615 (Phone)

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