Chapter

Categories of Intellectual Property and Biodiversity in Western Inspired Legal Cultures

Ituarte-Lima Claudia

in Law and Anthropology

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199580910
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723025 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580910.003.0013

Series: Current Legal Issues

 Categories of Intellectual Property and Biodiversity in Western Inspired Legal Cultures

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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’.

Keywords: intellectual property rights; legal culture; biodiversity; legal definitions

Chapter.  17279 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Law

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