The mismatch of geographical indications and innovative traditional knowledge
This article is about how geographical indications (GIs) cannot deliver the protection for traditional knowledge that indigenous peoples seek. There are three broad ways in which the protection of geographical indications appears to offer the possibility of providing legal mechanisms to protect traditional knowledge. These are the collective nature of the protection, the indefinite availability of the GI and the connection that GI owners perceive between their products and their land. Those seeking protection of traditional knowledge also seek a collective and an indefinite interest and frequently the relationship between their knowledge and the land is important for indigenous peoples. Yet, these similarities are superficial. GIs protect names and are used by Western farmers and sometimes rural communities to promote their products. This article concludes that GIs cannot deliver the protection that indigenous peoples seek in order to benefit from their traditional knowledge.