08 April 2022
Please join us for a webinar on Tuesday the 12th of April 2022 at 13:00 Athens time. The speaker is Jocelyn Bosse, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London. The title of the talk is “Claiming the Kakadu Plum: Trademark law and indigenous rights to plants".
Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/96479541729
Meeting ID: 964 7954 1729
Abstract: Who should control the Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana)? The name refers to a native Australian tree that produces a small, green fruit, known to Aboriginal people for its food and medicinal uses. The fruit became important to the cosmetics and food industries after Australian scientists showed the fruit to have the highest content of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in the world. The Kakadu plum is one of many plants that have been embroiled in allegations of “biopiracy,” a polemical term which describes the use of intellectual property claims to expropriate biodiversity and traditional knowledge, without the consent of, or compensation to, the relevant Indigenous or local community. However, many activists and scholars who criticise the intellectual property system for facilitating the appropriation of Indigenous or traditional knowledge have narrowly focused their attention on patent law, with the consequence that proposed solutions to the problem of biopiracy (such as access and benefit sharing laws) have not addressed the role of other forms of intellectual property. By comparing the arguments raised during trade mark opposition proceedings in Australia and the United States about the word mark “KAKADU PLUM,” the paper highlights the importance of the legal requirements for registration of a trade mark in protecting the rights and interests of Aboriginal communities to their plants and knowledge. From this vantage point, the paper reviews the recent trade mark law reform proposals from the Australian intellectual property office (IP Australia) to introduce additional protections for Indigenous words and knowledge.