New Draft Traditional Knowledge Bill Published In South Africa

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An alternative South African bill on the protection of traditional knowledge has been published in the official Government Gazette, and it would create a new system of intellectual property right specific to TK, according to South Africa experts.

The full text of the bill is available here [pdf].

“This Bill is based on the Protection of TK Bill drafted by the incumbent of the Stellenbosch Chair of IP Law (CIP), Prof Owen Dean, and was tabled in Parliament by Dr Wilmot James earlier this year amid widespread and serious criticism of Government’s current attempt at protecting TK through the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill (the old TK Bill),” Prof. Cobus Jooste of Stellenbosch Universiity said in a blog post.

“Wilmot’s Bill will establish a bespoke TK system, customised to the unique and widely divergent demographic of the South African population and capable of actually protecting TK and financially benefitting the indigenous communities from whence it hails,” Jooste wrote. “”n addition, Wilmot’s Bill proposes a sui generis approach to protection of sui generis expressions of intellectual endeavour.”

A fuller explanation of the bill was recently published in the Intellectual Property Watch Inside Views column here.


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