Venezuelan State Adopts Indigenous Peoples Law, Protects Collective IP Rights

Venezuelan State Legislators Approve Law on Intellectual Property for Indigenous PeoplesOn October 12, 2012, legislators in the Venezuelan state of Sucre approved a new Law on Indigenous Peoples and Communities. See Aprobada Ley de los Pueblos y Comunidades Indígenas, CNP 4.458/ 23.10.2012. According to a press release by the Legislative Council of the State of Sucre, the new law requires state approval prior to extraction and exploitation of natural resources in indigenous territories. Moreover, the law protects the collective intellectual property rights of indigenous communities over their knowledge, technologies, and innovations. Among other guarantees afforded to indigenous communities by the law is the right to intercultural and bilingual education for the strengthening of cultural and ethnic identity, values, spirituality, and the protection of sacred places.

Sucre, situated in northeast Venezuela on the Caribbean Sea, is home to groups belonging to three primary indigenous communities: the kari’ña, the Warao, and the Chaima. State legislators from Sucre consulted with representatives of those communities prior to adoption of the new law.

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