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The Protection of Traditional Knowledge in the Knowledge Economy: Cross-Cutting Challenges in International Intellectual Property Law

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Abstract This article explores and analyses existing frameworks and current initiatives for legal protection of traditional knowledge (TK) in international intellectual property law. The need to protect TK and to secure fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from its use is accepted in major forums of international intellectual property law-making. Considerable differences exist, however, on the mode and scope of protection, and the extent to which the issue of TK protection can be addressed in respective institutions entrusted with the task: the CBD, WIPO, WTO, and FAO. In this article, general trends and specific problems that underlie demands for the protection of TK are analysed in light of contemporaneous trends of global economic integration in the age of global knowledge economy. After consideration of challenges and threats to TK that need to be addressed through a protection system, initiatives for the protection of TK in national and international frameworks are analytically explored, and various proposals and approaches for protection are critically examined.

Affiliations: 1: Schulich School of Law, University of Dalhousie Halifax Canada


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