This paper tries to understand the relationship between intellectual property rights and traditional knowledge by examining the relationship between the TRIPS agreement and Convention of Biological Diversity. Initially, it was the concept of ‘common heritage of mankind’ which guided people while dealing with the natural resources across the globe. Genetic resources were moving freely with no restrictions. The knowledge associated with these resources was also moving freely. With the progress in trade and development, the exploitation of each resource and its privatization took place.
The distributions of biological resources were unequal in developing and developed countries. The developing countries were rich in its biological diversity whereas the developed countries don’t have enough biological resources. Instead they were having technology to utilize these resources and convert them into other forms of products. Slowly, something that belonged to all of us was converted into the hands of a few. This flow of resources was being regulated through a property mechanism. Industrialized nations were taking these resources out of the common pool and were then restricting its use. This they did with the help of intellectual property rights.
The local and indigenous communities were left with no shares and benefits arising out of these resources and the knowledge associated with these resources. It is very interesting to look upon the concept of traditional knowledge and intellectual property and to examine how IP is used to protect TK.
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