On December 14th and 15th 2009, Natural Justice, the International Development Law Organization, and the University of Cape Town’s Intellectual Property Law and Policy Research Unit co-hosted the Traditional Knowledge Commons Workshop in Cape Town. Advocates of indigenous and local communities and experts in IP law and ABS issues, participated in this 2 day workshop to critically engage the many implementation issues an international regime on access and benefit sharing will have to contend with once it is in place. Specifically, the participants considered the unique problems presented by non-commercial research related to traditional knowledge (TK).
The workshop focused on a potential TK commons model proposed as one possible mechanism for facilitating the expanded flow of benefits generated by TK-based non-commercial research while simultaneously increasing recognition and respect of sui generis customary law. Through their insightful critiques of this potential model, the participants identified several key factors to be addressed in future work addressing the issues raised by non-commercial TK-research. Natural Justice extends its sincere gratitude to all the participants for their invaluable contributions.