Reconciling Patent Law and Traditional Knowledge: Strategies for Countries with Traditional Knowledge to Successfully Protect Their Knowledge From Abuse,
48 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L.
Available at: http://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/jil/vol48/iss1/17
Traditional knowledge is a form of innovation that does not fit neatly into Western notions of property. Underdeveloped countries with significant traditional knowledge lack property protection for their traditional knowledge and are often not compensated for the technology arising from this form of knowledge. This Note outlines the tension arising from the differing incentives that underlie patent and traditional knowledge systems, and recommends methods of reconciling those tensions. First, this Note advocates that countries develop national libraries of the knowledge embodied in their staple agricultural products. Next, countries should create statutes to establish a method by which outside parties can negotiate to pay for traditional knowledge. Lastly, countries should use their permit or visa process to monitor and control the activities of foreigners commercializing traditional knowledge. The proposed measures in this Note help countries with significant biodiversity protect their traditional knowledge and allow fair compensation for commercial ventures stemming from that knowledge.