Traditional Knowledge, Databases and Prior Art – Options for an Effective Defensive Use of TK Against Undue Patent Granting
In: I. Stamatoudi (ed), Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Cultural Heritage, Cheltenham, Elgar, 2022, pp. 132-153
Posted: 27 Sep 2021 Last revised: 26 Jul 2022
Date Written: July 12, 2021
The defensive protection of traditional knowledge (TK) is one of the IP law mechanisms envisaged to protect cultural heritage and guarantee the rights of indigenous and local communities. Through it, information on the prior existence of this knowledge is used to prevent the fulfillment of novelty and inventive step as patentability requirements and, therefore, to avoid the patenting of TK-related inventions by third parties. The creation of TK databases that are accessible to foreign patent offices may facilitate the achievement of this goal. However, to be successful, this measure requires TK to be included in the prior art. This chapter aims to establish under which conditions TK can be considered as part of the prior art and thus be effectively used against undue patenting of inventions based on it. Through the analysis of the public accessibility of the knowledge – including in databases – and of the option of extending the prior art to TK that is not publicly accessible, potential gaps in the defensive use of TK are identified and recommendations for the improvement of its effectiveness are made.
Keywords: Traditional Knowledge, Patent Law, Databases, TKDL, Defensive Protection, Prior Art, Defensive Use, Cultural Heritage, Indigenous Communities
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