Draft Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill published for comment

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Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 11.46.51 AMAt the end of March 2015 the Draft Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill was published in Government Gazette 38574. Written comments on the draft bill by members of the public and interested parties may be submitted to the Department of Science and Technology until 19 May 2015.

The IP Unit intends to submit its comments before the deadline on 19 May 2015.

The Bill aims to provide for:

  • the protection, promotion, development and management of indigenous knowledge systems
  • the establishment and functions of the National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Office
  • the management of rights of indigenous knowledge holders
  • the establishment and functions of the Advisory Panel on indigenous knowledge systems
  • access and conditions of access to knowledge of indigenous communities
  • the registration, accreditation and certification of indigenous knowledge holders and practitioners
  • the facilitation and coordination of indigenous knowledge systems-based innovation.

According to s10, the Bill protects indigenous knowledge (incl. indigenous knowledge associated with natural resources) as well as indigenous cultural expressions. Both terms are further defined in s1. Eligibility criteria for protection are contained in s11. In s12, the Bill spells out a bundle of exclusive rights that indigenous communities and certain individuals enjoy in relation to their indigenous knowledge or indigenous cultural expression. These rights include the rights to

  • enjoy, control, utilise, maintain develop, preserve and protect
  • authorise or deny access and use
  • receive a fair and equitable share pf benefits arising from commercial uses
  • prevent misappropriation and misuse
  • ensure respect for cultural norms and practices.

A key stakeholder will be the newly established National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Office (NIKSO). Expert and strategic advice will be provided by an Advisory Panel. According to s6, NIKSO will be responsible for:

  • protecting and recognising indigenous knowledge systems
  • facilitating redress
  • facilitating and coordinating the development and innovation of indigenous knowledge systems
  • managing the national recording and documentation system, registrations, accreditations and certifications
  • awareness raising and capacity building for indigenous communities
  • determining and imposing fines.

Ss 23 et seq. contain access-enabling exceptions and limitations as well as provisions dealing with infringement and penalties.