Friday, August 18, 2017

Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Genetic Resources

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Article 26 of 2016 Patent Law addresses protection rules about over and Benefit Sharing and disclosure requirements for the origin or sources of genetic resources and/or traditional knowledge. This is to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity and Nagoya Protocol.

Chapter V of the 2014 Copyright law protects Traditional Cultural Expressions – that is works of unknown authorship, which attract copyright under the law. WIPO has long been helping developing countries protect their Traditional Knowledge, something that Indonesia as a large country of many peoples has worried about at an IP level.

Now there are going to be 2 new Ministerial regulations. The first covers something a called Local Wisdom, and the second Communal IP data. The Local Wisdom Regulation defines Traditional Knowledge as part of the Local Wisdom of indigenous people and local communities which might be used in an IP context. A structure is created to require consent to use traditional knowledge and a benefit sharing system with local custodians.  These are reasonably complex rules. It will be hard to many remote local people to comply with them, but nevertheless IP holders conducting research and utilizing technologies from Indonesian resources, or producing copyrights or other IP from local traditional cultural expressions will need to comply with these rules.

The second regulation allows the Ministry of Law to collect Communal Intellectual Property Data to manage and preserve traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, genetic resources, and potential geographical indications in the form of a database. On 27 July 2017, the Directorate General of Intellectual Property launched the Communal Intellectual Property Data Centre at present, only a handful of CIPs are already filed on the Database including a coffee, dance and music, textiles, and a fish

There will be a lot of complexity and possibly controversy around this. It is however impressive that Indonesia is making a start on this knotty area. Local disputes will arise with local communities over ownership, rights and definitions. After all who trusts a government to look after their property! In addition there are a host of other intersecting rules, for example, conservation laws, regional regulations, customary law, research permit rules, a proposed new Indigenous People's Rights law and foreign investment restrictions. Begin the process of studying this early if you are looking to use or rely on genetic materials or Traditional Knowledge from Indonesia.   

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