Traditional Knowledge

The World Intellectual Property Organisation defines traditional knowledge as knowledge, know-how, skills and practices that are developed, sustained and passed on from generation to generation within a community, often forming part of its cultural or spiritual identity. Traditional knowledge can be found in a wide variety of contexts, including agricultural, scientific, technical, ecological and medicinal knowledge as well as biodiversity-related knowledge.

Intellectual property emerges in discussions on traditional knowledge because it provides useful tools to aid communities’ and countries’ efforts to protect their culture and heritage. As such, the copyright, trademark, patent, industrial design and geographical indication frameworks for example, can be utilized to not only safeguard against cultural misappropriation and unauthorized use but to empower the community where the traditional knowledge originated to capitalize on their commercialization of the traditional knowledge.

For more on the relationship between intellectual property and traditional knowledge, see here: http://www.wipo.int/tk/en/tk/

There is no IP system of protection that specifically protects plant varieties in St. Kitts and Nevis as yet. Stakeholders are currently exploring varying avenues to bring this to reality in the near future, including for example, membership to The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).