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Tuesday 14 January 2014

Patricia Covarrubia

Peru: Doing more than a ‘bit’ for their heritage

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Since 2010, the Inventions and New Technologies Directorate at INDECOPI has been working together with the Institute for Research on the Peruvian Amazon ( IIAP ) in recovering the collective knowledge of the native peoples.

By December 2013 INDECOPI has received 2,057 applications for registration of collective knowledge from 33 native communities and 5 rural communities and in total, 1,895 certificates for registration of collective knowledge have been awarded. In these cases, INDECOPI works as a guardian, a custodian of the information which can only be used under the principles established in the law that protects the collective knowledge (Law No. 27811 ). This law establishes a sui generis regime that protects the collective knowledge of indigenous peoples which are linked to biological resources i.e. biodiversity. More importantly, the Peruvian State recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to decide over their collective knowledge.

For example, last December INDECOPI presented 982 titles collective knowledge to thirteen indigenous communities of San Martin and Amazonas regions –an illustration of what is protected could be:
  • Knowledge related to annatto, used to cure conjunctivitis and have been handed down from father to son, for the native community of Kachipampa Kechwa .
  • Knowledge related to guava, used to cure upset stomach and used through generations of the native community Mishkiyakillu Kechwa.

Finally, INDECOPI reports that the aim is to “consolidate the rights that these communities have over their collective knowledge that have been preserved and passed down from generation to generation”. INDECOPI’s president added that INDECOPI is committed “to indigenous and rural communities” and “offers these tools to protect intellectual property of such priceless heritage”.


Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia