Peruvian Amazonian Communities Receive Intellectual Property Registrations for Traditional Knowledge

In Peru, the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) has granted 453 intellectual property registrations for collective (traditional) knowledge relating to biological diversity to three indigenous communities in the Loreto region of the department of Amazonía. INDECOPI otorga 453 títulos de registro de conocimientos colectivos a comunidades de la Amazonía (INDECOPI July 19, 2012). The registrations relate to 120 Amazonian plants, and cover a variety of uses, including food, medicine, and vegetable dyes. According to INDECOPI, the information protected by the registrations “can only be used in accordance with the law that protects traditional knowledge.”

Peru’s Law No. 2788, promulgated in August 2002, establishes a sui generis intellectual property regime for the protection of indigenous peoples’ “collective knowledge”–defined as “the accumulated, transgenerational knowledge evolved by indigenous peoples and communities concerning the properties, uses and characteristics of biological diversity.” Law No. 2788 was established for several stated purposes, one of which is “[t]o avoid situations where patents are granted for inventions made or developed on the basis of collective knowledge of the indigenous peoples of Peru without any account being taken of that knowledge as prior art in the examination of the novelty and inventiveness of the said inventions.” Those who wish to access registered collective knowledge for scientific, commercial or industrial applications are required to apply for the prior informed consent of the representatives of the relevant indigenous peoples. The law requires that the terms of access for commercial or industrial applications must provide for “equitable distribution of the benefits deriving therefrom.”

h/t: IP Tango.

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