Categories of Intellectual Property and Biodiversity in Western Inspired Legal Cultures
Notions of intellectual property rights (IPR) in Western-inspired legal cultures differ from the way IPR are understood by traditional knowledge holders in relatively isolated and biodiverse areas. This chapter characterizes IPR and biodiversity as legal categories that form part of the Western-inspired legal system. It shows that legal definitions relevant to bioprospection can be understood not as analytic anthropological concepts, but as ‘native’ categories of legal cultures and their associated ‘objects’ such as international legal treaties. The historical context as well as power relations influence the way definitions become crystallized in legal texts (e.g. international treaties). In turn, legal definitions affect the characterization of the resources owned as tangible and intangible, and influence particular interpretations of ‘public domain’.
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