TITLE

SUSTAINABILITY AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE

AUTHOR(S)
Karjala, Dennis S.
PUB. DATE
October 2012
SOURCE
Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science & Technology;Fall2012, Vol. 53 Issue 1, p57
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article makes a simple point: If sustainability (however defined) is the goal, intellectual property rights (IPRs) in traditional knowledge (TK) do not move us toward the achievement of that goal. The reason is that the only social policy justification for recognizing IPRs at all is that they supposedly serve as an incentive to create socially desirable works of authorship and inventions. They are not and should not serve as a reward for past achievements. In other words, outside of their usual incentive function of promoting new technology, IPRs in TK have no role to play in the sustainability analysis. This is not to say that TK is irrelevant to sustainability; indeed, there is good reason to believe that much can be learned from study and implementation of traditional practices in a wide range of fields. Nor is it to say that IPRs in general play no role in advancing the goal of sustainability. The incentives supplied by IPRs to authors and inventors may help induce new technologies and methods for preserving what is left of the natural state of the planet and its ecosystems. The point is only that IPRs in TK can do no good (in promoting sustainability) and may do much harm, by tying up knowledge in exclusive rights that inhibit its application to sustainability (or anything else) without any compensating social gains.
ACCESSION #
89363486

 

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