Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources, Patent Law and its Protection: A Legal Analysis of Africa, Latin America, and India. How India Can Protect it Fiercely

01 June 2021

Traditional knowledge (TK) is comprised of the know-how, skills, and innovations that are practiced by Indigenous and local communities; these are passed down form generation to generation and form a part of the communities' cultural and spiritual identity. The concept and scope of TK are vast; therefore, it has been a subject of heated debate in international forums for decades. TK includes both traditional and cultural expressions and genetic resources; however, this dissertation covers only TK associated with genetic resources. TK has proven to be helpful as an input in modern industries. For instance, many pharmaceutical companies have utilized traditional medicinal knowledge as a cure and, at times, to develop drugs quickly. The dissertation is chiefly oriented towards formulating a sui-generis mechanism tailored specifically for Indian order to grant protection to the country's rich and diverse repository of TK. India, which is considered one of the world's mega-biodiversity hot spots and is home to different schools of medicine, has a lot to offer through its TK. However, the country has made little progress when it comes to a comprehensive TK protection policy. The present dissertation explores various instances of TK misappropriation both within India and other countries. The second chapter establishes the need for an international legal framework to ensure comprehensive TK protection. The third and fourth chapters specifically mention the laws and regulations adopted by countries in Latin America and Africa at national and regional levels, with the aim of studying their efforts and suggesting provisions in the Indian context. The chapters examine those nations' sui-generis legislations, which are primarily based on customary laws. The proposed Indian sui-generis law takes inspiration from South Africa's new legislation and Article 82 of Costa Rica's Biodiversity Law. Chapter 5 focuses on the current national legislation of India that provides protection to TK. It also examines the defensive protection offered to TK through TKDL. The concluding chapter offers suggestions and recommends steps that India could take to protect its TK, focusing primarily on the role of customary law.