les Nouvelles - September 2014

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Protecting Traditional Knowledge As Cardinal Technology In The Philippines

Robert Nereo B. Samson

Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines

Gonzalo D.V. Go III

Jollibee Foods Corporation

Technology is an important tool for the sustainable development of society. Far from being known for robotics and high-level technologies, the Philippines has its own formidable technology to offer the world: the traditional knowledge (TK) of its indigenous peoples and communities ("Indigenous People").

TK originated from the intellectual creations of Indigenous People, and has been passed on from generations to generations. Its scope spans from agriculture, science, ecology, medicine, biodiversity, and such other fields of knowledge relevant to Indigenous People's continued existence. TK possesses global importance for its proven benefits to society in general.

Blessed with 110 diverse groups of Indigenous People in its 7,107 islands, the Philippines' TK collection may be the key to economic development and the sustainability of the indigenous cultures and traditions of the Philippines, truly worth identifying, developing, and protecting. This paper explains the legal framework of TK, how the contemporary Philippine intellectual property system protects it, and the reservations of Indigenous People in availing of such protection.

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