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Traditional Knowledge

Guide to resources for traditional knowledge research

International Treaties & Agreements

Community Guide to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Declaration is the most comprehensive tool we have available to advance the rights of Indigenous peoples.

WIPO - World Intellectual Property Organisation

Search national laws & treaties on intellectual property of WIPO, WTO and UN members.


Resources available on WIPO's website on regional, national, local and community experiences regarding intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.

Table of contents

  1. Laws, legislative measures and protocols
  2. Fact-finding missions, surveys, submissions by member states and observers
  3. Case studies
  4. Lectures and presentations
  5. Other resources (Biodiversity-related access & online Databases and Registries of TK & Genetic Resources)

A wide range of tools and proposals have been developed over the past decade or so to protect traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) (including using classical IP systems, developing sui generis legislation, applying defensive protection instruments, among others). Special attention has been given to documentation and the role of databases and registers in this regard


Provides useful practical guidance on how to undertake a TK documentation exercise as a process and how to address critical IP-related issues and questions, as they surface during this effort.


What role customary law should play in the wider protection of traditional knowledge is a challenging question that raises a host of policy and legal issues. Holders of traditional knowledge have stressed that respect and recognition of customary law is integral to appropriate protection of traditional knowledge against misuse and misappropriation by others.

Customary Law and Traditional Knowledge (background brief)

Customary Law, Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property: An Outline of the Issues

Customary Law in the Protection of Traditional Knowledge - Regional Study in the Andean Countries

Customary Law in ABS and TK Governance: Perspectives from Andean and Pacific Island Countries