Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations

Seminar Details

30 Oct 2003

Missing Markets in the World Trading System: The Case for ‘Sui Generis’ Protection of Traditional Knowledge under TRIPS
October 30, 2003
Dr. Ajeet Mathur, Professor, ICRIER, speaking at the seminar organised by ICRIER on ‘Missing Markets in the World Trading System: The Case for “Sui Generis” Protection of Traditional Knowledge Under TRIPs’. 

Dr. Ajeet Mathur, Professor, ICRIER, presented a study of the feasibility and economic logic in the design of a sui generis protection system for protection of traditional knowledge at a seminar on October 30, 2003. Prof. Mathur proposed a framework that would harmonise national priorities and also satisfy all international commitments, including TRIPS. The study finds that recognition of traditional knowledge as a global public good could enable an international sui generis system to be operationalised. An international treaty providing sui generis protection to traditional knowledge could be reached through WIPO or UNESCO or WTO. Prof. Mathur noted that countries need not wait for an international treaty and national sui generis systems can be designed to suit national priorities. 

Prof. Mathur concluded that for benefit-sharing arrangements to work, the government should limit its role to capacity building, facilitating information flows, promoting new forms of contracts enforcement, and making effective international representation. He proposed that it would be useful to conduct pilot projects in biodiversity hotspots like the North-Eastern states, Western Ghats, Himalayan slopes, and the Narmada and Tapti Basins in process-led action research to gain more experience of how to build capacity and embed benefit-sharing arrangements in local communities, local entrepreneurial initiatives, and local self-governance. Dr. Arvind Virmani, Director & Chief Executive, ICRIER, chaired the seminar.



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