Intellectual Property Rights vis-à-vis Traditional Knowledge: A Critical Analysis

  • Adhish Anilkumar Kulkarni
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  • Adhish Anilkumar Kulkarni

    Student at CMR University School of Legal Studies, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

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Traditional knowledge is defined as a cumulative body of knowledge and beliefs that is handed down through generations by cultural transmission. It concerns the relationship among living beings between themselves and with the environment. In this context, traditional knowledge is very intimately embedded into the fabric of society and cultural ethos. The need for protection of Traditional Knowledge in recent times has gained greater prominence. In this era of modern technology, the possibility of Misappropriation, unauthorized usage, stealing and piracy of traditional knowledge has increased. Patenting and protecting the traditional knowledge through Intellectual Property Rights law is surely one of the ways to save the traditional knowledge from getting exploited. Countries have come up with laws at the National level to recognize the traditional knowledge to be one of the Intellectual Property and has further gone on to give rights over it. Thus, there is a need to do research on the role of Intellectual Property rights in protecting traditional knowledge. The current paper studies the IPR laws at international level with respect to traditional knowledge and also examines the landmark cases of the same. The paper further makes an attempt in analyzing the laws of India in detail and determining to what extent Indian laws are successful in ensuring that the traditional knowledge is protected. When it comes to protection of Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge in India, though the governments have made attempts in preserving them, there are still lacunas and gaps. Thus, the paper tries to come up with recommendations and suggestions to improve the current position of India with respect to protecting the Traditional Knowledge.


Research Paper


International Journal of Legal Science and Innovation, Volume 3, Issue 6, Page 303 - 311


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