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Intangible heritage, traditional medicine and knowledge governance

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice
Issue number10
Volume2
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)682-692
Publication statusPublished
Early online date31/08/07
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Legal context
Although traditional medicine constitutes a component part of the identity of the cultural communities concerned, this form of intangible cultural heritage is vulnerable in a globalizing world where little place is left for the protection of belief systems.
Key points
While much has been written on traditional knowledge and IP rights, less scholarly attention has focused on the cultural dimension of traditional medicine. Further, no solution has been reached on the best way to ensure its protection. This contribution attempts to establish a linkage between different sectors of international law, addressing the complex interplay between traditional medicine, intended as a special form of intangible cultural heritage, and international knowledge governance.
While the TRIPS Agreement adopts only proprietary approaches to knowledge governance, it has been questioned whether, in the case of pharmaceuticals, other non-proprietary approaches would be preferable. Different approaches will be put forward and the Draft Treaty on Medical Research and Development will be considered. This would provide a better framework for safeguarding and diffusing traditional medicine.
Practical significance
Protecting and promoting traditional medicine may help curing diseases spread all over the world. Thus, beyond its cultural aspects, the practical importance of traditional medicine lies in its capacity to promote the right to health and human dignity.