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6 Indigenous Peoples' Cultural Rights and the Controversy over Commercial Use of Their Traditional Knowledge

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Chapter Summary

The use of sui generis schemes for the protection of traditional knowledge appears as the only possible solution with sufficient flexibility for adaptation to different manifestations of such knowledge, to the particular values and interests they incorporate, as well as to the specific problems raised by their commercial exploitation. Another important aspect of sui generis protection systems consists in the suitability of allowing traditional knowledge holders to exclude the commercial exploitation of their knowledge tout court. In particular, a conflict may arise in the event that certain populations develop knowledge that could bring significant benefits to humanity as a whole but are unwilling to disclose it. On one side, the right of the traditional knowledge holders concerned to preserve their cultural identity and, on the other, the chance to appreciably improve certain fundamental human rights, like the right to life and to health, to the benefit of all humanity.

Keywords: commercial exploitation; cultural rights; human rights; sui generis; tout court; traditional knowledge



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