Balancing Intellectual Property Rights and Traditional Knowledge. A gLAWcal comment on Jianqiang Nie "The Relationship between the TRIPs Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folk Protection from a Chinese Perspective"

Traditional Knowledge is the a variety of customs, practices, and production methods that are often held by indigenous peoples and their nations. Often enough, there is not one particular person that holds onto a copyright protection, and therefore the current body of regulatory structures struggles to make a proper protection of this Traditional Knowledge, and also allow the community to continue using this Knowledge unabated. This is a somewhat novel complication of the regulation of information, now that IPRs are an important legal consideration. There is often, and rightly, carved out exceptions for indigenous communities in a number of ways. Here is a particular area of regulation that must be met with deft and expertise for the subject matter by those who regulate it. Knowing whether Traditional Knowledge is Traditional by definition, is one of the first ways in which the regulation of this area becomes increasingly complex. This also allows the recognition that there is often co-opting of Traditional Knowledge by those outside of the community from which it originates. The national government of essentially another nation, is the one who is tasked with protecting the Traditional Knowledge of a nation within its historic boundaries. With this, there is often a history of suppressing the rights and privileges of these same communities. Understandably, there is often the opportunity to be not completely certain that the central government has the best interests of the indigenous community in mind. While this poor relationship does not exist everywhere, it definitely complicates the regulation and protection of Traditional Knowledge in many jurisdictions.