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Bio Diversity and Traditional Knowledge (IPR)


Bio Diversity and Traditional Knowledge 

Under Article 27 (3) of TRIPS Agreement countries have the choice to give the new variety of plant a patent or make a sui generis law for its protection

International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants or UPOV

(French: Union Internationale pour la protection des obtentions vegetables)

The Convention was adopted in Paris in 1961

Objective is to provide protection to new varieties of plants as intellectual property.

• So that plant breeders get encouragement for development of new varieties of plants for the benefit of society. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer's Rights Act, 2001. Provisions of the act are regarding.

  • Protection of plant varieties

  • Protection of rights of farmers and plant breeders

  • Encourage development and cultivation of new varieties of plants

  • Benefit sharing and compensation for traditional rural and tribal communities

  • Protecting traditional rights of farmers.

UN convention on biological diversity (CBD) Signed IN Rio Dio Janerio in June 1992

Biological Diversity Act, 2002

• Enacted to meet obligations under CBD

• For preservation of biological diversity in India, and provides mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of traditional biological resources and knowledge of IPR 23:26

• To secure sharing of benefits with local people as conservers of biological resources and holders of knowledge and information relating to the use of biological resources;

• Protection and rehabilitation of threatened species;

property Right


• Punishment under Section 58 for unauthorized use of biological resources and doing bio piracy. Imprisonment up to 5 years, fine up to 10 lakh, more if the damage is more than 10 lakhs.

Traditional knowledge

Article 8 (j) of Convention of biological Diversity (CBD) talks about traditional knowledge

Each contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate:

Subject to national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge innovations and practices.

  • Traditional knowledge is the driving force for income for many people in developing countries.

  • It is more affordable than the modern alternatives. Example Healthcare (Ayurveda, Siddha medicine of Tamil Nadu, Unani Medicine, Yoga etc.)

  • Traditional knowledge can be found in a wide variety of contexts, including: agricultural, scientific, technical, ecological and medicinal knowledge as well as biodiversity-related knowledge.

  • Traditional knowledge refers to knowledge as such, in particular the knowledge resulting from intellectual activity in a traditional context, and includes know-how, practices, skills, and innovations.

Dhanpath Seth and Ors. v. Nil Kamal Plastic Crates Ltd., (AIR 2008 H.P. 23)

• Patent for device which was used for manual hauling of agriculture produce was owned by Plaintiff, he filled suit for injunction against the defendants for using that patented device.

The Device was proved to be made by using traditional knowledge.

So the plaintiff was not given the injunction he sought but as he owned the patent some other measures were taken if in case he succeeds a future suite.


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