Traditional knowledge so called local knowledge or indigenous knowledge terms as the knowledge which come from the local communities and tradition of regional technology areas. It is the technology which has orally passed over generation from person to person. The world intellectual property organization (WIPO) defines Traditional knowledge as “indigenous cultural and intellectual property”
Analyzing IP Protection for Traditional Knowledge
It is very important to analyze the traditional knowledge as intellectual property rights. That traditional knowledge also be protected. The protection of traditional knowledge has been a challenging issue for the countries worldwide.
Traditional knowledge is type of a living body of knowledge that is developed, sustained and passed from generation to generation within a community, often forming part of its cultural or spiritual identity. So it is not easily protected by the current intellectual property system, which typically grants protection for a limited period to inventions and original works by named individuals or companies. Its living nature also means that “traditional” knowledge is not easy to define.
Patent and Traditional knowledge in India
India has around 100 million forest dwellers and most of whom belongs to tribal communities.
Forest is the rich source of timber and the non timber forest produce. The forest and dwellers gives to India an abundant of knowledge about the traditional value of various forest products. But the way intellectual property rights have been designed in modern commerce, traditional knowledge cannot be protected. One of the main reasons is in traditional knowledge there is lack of inventive step or character, because of inherent lack of novelty.
In the recent past years, there have been several cases of bio- piracy of traditional knowledge in India. First it was the patent of wound healing properties of HALDI (Turmeric). The foreigner obtaining the patents based on Indian biological materials without acknowledging the sources of their knowledge or without sharing the benefits.
There are also more sources of examples of Indian traditional knowledge like –
• BASMATI RICE
How should traditional knowledge be protected?
Traditional knowledge should be especially protected in developing and underdeveloped countries. Such protection should primarily be with regards to, firstly, the recognition of the rights of the original traditional knowledge holders and secondly, the unauthorized acquisition of rights by third parties over traditional knowledge. Further the mechanisms sought to be implemented with regards to traditional knowledge must give subjective consideration to the original holders of the knowledge.
Systems of traditional knowledge protection
There are two forms of intellectual property related protection which deals with traditional knowledge. And They are:
Traditional knowledge holders have given the right to take action or seek remedies against any misuse of traditional knowledge. Any system of positive protection of traditional knowledge must provide for:
· Recognition of value and promotion of respect for traditional knowledge systems.
· Responsiveness to the actual needs of traditional knowledge holders.
· Support of traditional knowledge systems and empowerment of traditional knowledge holders.
· Promotion of equitable benefit sharing from use of traditional knowledge.
· Promotion of the use of traditional knowledge for a bottom up approach to development.
Safeguarding against illegitimate intellectual property rights acquired by third parties over traditional knowledge. Any system of defensive protection of traditional knowledge must provide for:
· A mechanism to ensure that the traditional knowledge constituting prior art is available and accessible to search authorities.
Certain non IPR mechanisms of traditional knowledge protection
Traditional knowledge has been protected by certain mechanisms which are beyond the domain of intellectual property. These mechanisms are:
Environmental: Concluded in 1994, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification provided for the protection of traditional knowledge in the ecological environments as well as the sharing of benefits arising from any commercial utilization of this TK
Health: The World Health Organization has recognized the relevance of traditional knowledge in the field of medicine as a source of primary health care in the Primary Health Care Declaration of Alma Ata.
Trade and Development: The Doha Declaration adopted by the World Trade Organization in the Doha Ministerial Conference, in 2001, instructed the TRIPS Council to examine issues regarding the protection of traditional knowledge.
Food and Agriculture: The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture provides for the recognition of farmers rights and the protection of traditional knowledge relevant to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.