Seminar: “Traditional knowledge, intellectual property rights, power and benefit sharing: case studies/evidence from Pelargonium, Rooibos and Hoodia”

On 26 August 2011, the Law, Race & Gender Unit’s Rural Women Action Project will host a lunch time seminar on “Traditional knowledge, intellectual property rights, power and benefit sharing: case studies/ evidence from Pelargonium, Rooibos and Hoodia”.

The seminar will consider recent cases in relation to compliance with South African law and international law and best-practice on bio-prospecting and benefit sharing. The speakers – Gino Cocchiaro from Natural Justice and Mariam Mayet from the African Centre for Biosafety – will also pay attention to the prospects of testing the scope of new bio-prospecting laws in particular testing the legality of Bio-permits being issued by the Eastern Cape government that can be seen as circumventing national legislation. Other areas of law that require litigation concern how to decide how to compensate a community when a commercial product is harvested from their community without much benefit to them particularly if the community is a poor and marginalised located in the poorest areas of South Africa. This discussion will open the door to a consideration of developing living customary law in concord with the Constitution as a basis to challenge international trade law [including copyright and patent law] that fails to recognise and protect the rights of rural people directly as distinct from officially recognised traditional governance structures which are not necessarily or always the given or legitimate representatives of the interests of rural people.

Date: Friday 26 August 2011

Time: 12h30 – 14h00

Venue: Smit Marine Seminar Room, Kramer Law School, Middle Campus, University of Cape Town