Indigenous and local communities have utilised traditional and indigenous knowledge (TK) for generations in accordance with regional laws, practices, and traditions. It has been passed down from generation to generation and evolved. TK has played a significant role and continues to play a significant part in crucial sectors such as food security, the advancement of agriculture, and medical care.
Contrary to popular belief, TK is not necessarily in the public domain, however a sizable amount of TK might be. Even when the broad subject matter of TK is taken into consideration, it is frequently challenging to identify the owner or owners. TK is not something that is merely handed down from the past or is static. TK is an expanding body of knowledge. In TK, innovations do occur. Although most of TK is not documented, not to mention the tacit knowledge and the parts of TK that are considered secret or sacred, it is challenging to identify the specific state of the art in TK when compared to scientific knowledge. These create many complications in contesting patent claims based on TK and in identifying the innovation and the contributions made by an innovator.
A broad view of the development of TK from the CBD convention, indicates that primary aim was protect traditional knowledge and practices from being exploited by western civilizations, to protect the essence of one's traditional and indigenous knowledge and the secondary to have exclusive right to protect, preserve and commercially exploit such knowledge through different
modes and methods.
TK has been discussed in several international organisations and forums. The discussion of this matter was sparked by the adoption of article 8(j) of the CBD. This clause is written in non- operational, self-executing programming words. National laws should specify how the rights of the communities are to be recognised and upheld to be applicable. However, it was a significant step in the direction of a more organised response to the problem on a national and worldwide scale. The UNEP/CBD, WIPO, UNCTAD, and WTO have all addressed issues pertaining to traditional knowledge and intellectual property. These organisations have worked together in some instances. Consequently, WIPO and UNEP conducted joint case studies on the function of IPRs in distributing benefits from use of TK and associated biological resources.
Frankincense, often known as the "gold of the desert," is one of many components that have been used in the Sultanate of Oman (Oman) for as long as anyone can remember to create scents and incense, which are significant to Omani culture. In 1983, the Sabco Group, a private holding company owned by the Omani royal family, launched Oman Perfumery LLC, a specialised luxury fragrance house known to the public as the House of Amouage (Amouage, which means "waves of emotion"). The Sabco Group was well aware of the significance of fragrances in Omani culture, and in particular, the importance of locally sourced ingredients such as frankincense, myrrh, and rosewater.
The new perfumery was founded with two main goals in mind: first, to support the Oman fragrance industry by producing contemporary scents that could compete on the global market; and second, to reflect and promote Oman's culture and traditions through these scents. In order to achieve these objectives, the business has created perfume brands that have won awards as well as distinctive and identifiable bottle designs that are protected by the intellectual property (IP) system.
As a result, Amouage has developed some of the most coveted perfumes in the world and has become one of Oman's most recognisable brands. It takes enormous ability to harvest frankincense and myrrh according to a traditional method that has been refined over hundreds of years. Once harvested, frankincense, myrrh, and rosewater have a variety of traditional applications, all of which are infused into the process of making Amouage perfumes. Uses change according to the substance and type of the tree or shrub. The product was carefully chosen and promoted by the R&D team so that it perfectly encapsulates Oman's TK.
The packaging of perfumes and other items is crucial to their success and the creation of a brand's reputation and is almost as important as the fragrance itself. Amouage is well recognised for its bottles, which were first used for its Gold line of perfumes and include caps shaped like the handle of an Arabian dagger. Amouage's product names are just as significant as its industrial designs because they aid in the creation of a distinctive brand and global growth. The business has taken action to safeguard its name and brand reputation in important markets as a result.
Amouage now has 20 standalone stores in major cities around the world and employs about 250 people. Our goal is to double in size over the next couple of years. We are trying to increase our presence in prestigious luxury boutiques to help increase the recognition of our brand5. It is very evident from Amouage's strategy that they have managed to safeguard their age-old knowledge of cultivation, usage of perfumes for special occasion be it any and simultaneously support the local population of Oman.
This sets an example how their business strategy can be a prime example of how a developing nation can protect their traditional knowledge and ensure that through utilizing various intellectual property protections available one can ensure fruitful use of traditional knowledge. However, this strategy may not work for every traditional knowledge, taking India as an example who is rich in their traditional knowledge and has diverse range of practices available not every group of individual has the resource to safeguard and capitalize on their traditional knowledge, hence after some instances of bio-piracy Indian government has taken a one of a kind effort to maintain TKDL database.
The protection of TK raises a variety of policy concerns, including the goals and methods of such protection as well as their effects and ramifications for their intended recipients. Due to significant disagreements on the definition of the subject matter, the justification for protection, and the methods used to fulfil its objectives, such issues are exceedingly complex. It is important to address all aspects of the TK debate, including moral, environmental, and socioeconomic challenges. In addition, there are numerous technological problems that have not yet been resolved, including the issue of collective ownership and the methods of right enforcement.
Any regime for the protection of TK should be developed with a clear understanding of the goals it seeks to achieve as well as the suitability of the tool chosen to do so. IPRs may be one of the methods to be employed, but it is important to understand their limitations and ramifications. In particular, a balance between the protection and encouragement of the use of such information should be achieved.
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