Indigenous traditional knowledge protection:prospects in South Africaís intellectual property framework?

  • Charles A. Masango Department of Research and Innovation, University of Cape Town
Keywords: Indigenous traditional knowledge, intellectual property


This article examines indigenous traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights. It examines whether it is possible for South Africas intellectual property framework to protect all types of indigenous traditional knowledge against exploitation since financial considerations are the basis for the protection of indigenous traditional knowledge. The rationale for the examination stems from a draft policy and bill for public comment published by the South African Minister of Trade and Industry on policy framework for the protection of indigenous traditional knowledge through the intellectual property system and the intellectual property laws amendment bill, 2008. The article attempts to propose elements within indigenous traditional knowledge that may and may not possibly be protected against exploitation within intellectual property rights. Finally, the article attempts to propose possible measures that could be implemented for indigenous traditional knowledge to be protected within South Africas intellectual property framework.


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