This Comment examines the controversy over whether a registry system is the best way to prevent Western inventors from obtaining intellectual property protection for traditional knowledge that has been misappropriated from underdeveloped parts of the world. This dilemma exists because traditional knowledge often constitutes patentable subject matter, most indigenous peoples do not subscribe to a Western "property rights" view of the world, and exploitation of traditional knowledge has become easier through improved communication capabilities. This Comment argues in favor of a registry system to catalog traditional knowledge; patent examiners would deny patent protection to any invention that replicates traditional knowledge. Essentially, indigenous peoples will not see their traditional knowledge appropriated without compensation, and mere misappropriators of traditional knowledge will not receive patent protection; inventors will only receive patent protection for inventions based on traditional knowledge if they have added something novel to that knowledge. This Comment concludes, however, with an important caveat: this registry system only makes sense if indigenous peoples believe in it.
Thomas J, Krumenacher,
Protection for Indigenous Peoples and their Traditional Knowledge: Would a Registry System Reduce the Misappropriation of Traditional Knowledge?,
8 Marq. Intellectual Property L. Rev. 143
Available at: http://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/iplr/vol8/iss1/5