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Wednesday 23 November 2011

Patricia Covarrubia

Traditional knowledge = heritage protection

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Later this year, I have seen a in matters of traditional knowledge. This wording may cover many things: the way perhaps a handcraft is made, maybe an ancestral recipe, or the way to harvest a particular crop. There is of course the more valuable one – perhaps no for some indigenous people (you never know what you have until you lose it) but of incredible value to society and well, what can I say, to pharmaceutical companies- yes, I am talking about medicines in here. Traditional medicine covers skills and practices based on indigenous theories, beliefs and experiences that have passed through indigenous generations.

The question of recognition of traditional knowledge in intellectual property, particularly with regard to patents, is a subject that needs to be raised, especially in countries where they have these resources.

The question is: should the IP offices intervene?
I believe so, they are in a very good position, not only the issue is about intellectual property rights, it is also more about protecting their own heritage. They have the duty to inform their communities what is going on (I apologise if I have been subjective in this). To this regards, I welcome the set of lectures and discussions that the Brazilian Instituto da Propiedad Intellectual (INPI) is preparing in this crucial area – traditional knowledge and patent law.

The meetings are taking place on 24th and 25th November and will bring together experts from institutions such as INPI itself, the Board of Management of Genetic Resources (GCEN) the Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN), Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) and Fitovida Network, an association of producers of alternative medicine.

Source INPI.

If you are in the same page as I am regarding this matter – indigenous rights and traditional knowledge and you would like to work in a future project with this tanguera, please send me an e-mail with your point of view and your expertise or interest in this area (I do welcome different areas of law – not just IP).

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia