Friday, April 15, 2011

Bolivia Proposes Law giving rights to 'Nature'

Bolivia has recently made 'TK headlines' due to the proposal of a new law, which apparently enshrines equal rights between humans and 'nature'. A summary of the recent law and its raison d'etre can be found in the Guardian here

The proposal of this law is said to be due in part to the prominence of members of the indigenous Aymara Indian community in Bolivia's democratically elected government. For instance, both the current President, Evo Morales, and the Foreign Minister, David Choquehuanca, are Aymara Indians. However, the details of the law have yet to be fully fleshed out and it is uncertain at this stage how 'nature' could be represented under the law. Nonethelss, it is possible that the law could provide a new, and highly original, way of discussing TK and indigenous rights, but until the details are fully published the proposal can perhaps be best seen as 'aspirational'.

Some further recent comments on 'indigenous thinking' made by Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca are reported in the Guardian here

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

India approves free access to important portions of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library

The EPO has noted that the Indian Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a resource of immense importance with regard to patent claims and 'bio-piracy' in the India sub-continent. WIPO has also given much praise to the TKDL.

In a recent welcome development, the Science and Development Network reports that India has provisionally agreed to allow free access to a small portion of its traditional knowledge in order to support the battle to combat malaria, cholera and other diseases which threaten the lives of people in the developing world.

The Science and Development Network reports:

"So far, access to the TKDL has been restricted to agreed users — mainly patent offices worldwide — for fear of it being misused for commercial purposes, according to V. K. Gupta, the library's director. Now, there are plans to release a small part of the information, which focuses on diseases of the poor, into the public domain, said Samir Brahmachari, director-general of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), where the project is hosted."

This development could give weight to the argument that the taking of measures to safeguard and protect TK should not necessarily prevent giving access to the TK for non-profit purposes.

More information on this important development can be found here