Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights, traditional knowledge (sometimes referred to as TFRK) is an increasing important theme that relates to the Convention on Biological Diversity and its implications for indigenous peoples. Although intellectual property rights do not sit squarely within the domain of Human Rights, the issues are founded on questions of self-determination, participation, value systems and fundamental fairness. This reference explores some technical aspects of intellectual property and genetic technologies and highlights what is a growing concern for indigenous communities. Although the dialogue concerning intellectual property rights has occured principally in the context of the Americas (where indigenous peoples organizations are significantly further along in the civil society development process), intellectual properties (especially in relation to South African pharmaceutical development) will be an issue that can be expected to become increasingly important in the Central African context given its climate of fewer regulatory restrictions and lower levels of scrutiny that are generally favorable to private sector investment concerns.

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