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Intellectual Property Rights (Ipr) Approaches To The Protecting Of Traditional Knowledge: Policy Options And Directions For The Ld Cs Like Bangladesh

981 words - 4 pages

In November 2013, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) adopted the special sui-generis Geographical Indicative Products (Registration and Protection) Act to establish intellectual property rights on the products which are originated from specific geographic region of Bangladesh. The purpose of the GI act is to promote socio-economic development of local communities associated with the cultivation and production of GI products. Since the inaction of GI act in 2013, experts, academics, policy makers, human rights activists and representatives from local and indigenous communities in Bangladesh have been demanding to develop effective policy to protect Traditional Knowledge (TK) and bio-diversity including medicinal plants. In Bangladesh the social, educations, scientific, cultural as well as ecological and genetic values of using and management of TK and bio-diversity is invaluable for their immediate and future use. However, the rich local wisdom, traditional knowledge and plants are fast eroding for several reasons in Bangladesh. This includes rampant bio-prospecting, shrinking and dislocation of local and indigenous communities by reduction of land resources base, inadequate documentation and limited inter-generational transfer of knowledge, insufficient conservation related supports from the government to preserve traditional heritages and lack of institutional supports, man power and legal knowledge for implementing effective intellectual property right mechanism to protect TK and bio-diversity.
Currently bio-prospecting has become a billion dollar global industry and many biotech Multinational Corporations (MNCs) are engaged in developing cross-border supply chain of raw materials which are previously used and managed by local communities as active ingredients of traditional medicines and treatment methods. Bangladesh could reap economic profits from the proper utilization of TK, bio-diversity and medicinal plants. It is estimated that about 450 to 500 plants growing and managed by local and indigenous communities in Bangladesh have therapeutic values. Bangladesh can use its TK and rich bio-diversity globally through partnership, trade and other forms of cross-border transfer-pricing arrangements for converting tacit knowledge held by traditional and disperse communities into a articulated information under a system of intellectual property rights. Bangladesh needs appropriate protection policy to facilitate the process in which local and indigenous communities are able to share their knowledge, rich bio-diversity and medicinal plants with multinational corporations, investors and traders at the local, national and international levels.
In this backdrop, this paper attempts to analyze how the protection of TK and bio-diversity can be best ensured in a LDC country like Bangladesh. The main research question of this paper is: can Bangladesh as LDC protect TK and biodiversity by adopting conventional form of intellectual property laws or need a...

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