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Intellectual property laws and the protection of traditional knowledge in South Africa : an evaluation of the current intellectual property system and its protection of traditional and indigenous knowledge.

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The aim of this paper is to consider the debate amongst the various views regarding the Protection of Traditional Knowledge in South Africa. In the process, it will define Traditional Knowledge and provide some examples. It will then provide and discuss various reasons which explain why Traditional Knowledge should be protected. Then it will proceed by illustrating how Traditional Knowledge should be protected by examining and evaluating whether Intellectual Property laws, as they currently stand, protect Traditional Knowledge and then critically evaluate the proposed new law which the legislature is intending to introduce in order to protect Traditional Knowledge. In addition, as explained above, Professor Owen Dean, who is a leading Intellectual Property lawyer and academic in South Africa, has proposed his own legislation. The legislation proposed by Dean will be critically evaluated and compared with the legislation proposed by the Department of Trade and Industry. The Traditional Knowledge protection mechanisms for Traditional Knowledge which currently exist in Australia will also be considered. This paper will conclude by arguing that the introduction of legislation to protect Traditional Knowledge should be welcomed, but that the preferred legislation is that proposed by Dean.


Master of Law in Business law. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College 2014.


Theses--Business law., Ethnoscience., Copyright., Intellectual property.