The framing of intellectual property laws should involve an inclusive approach that took into account the marginalised voices and knowledge of native communities and not become a “majoritarian hegemony,” Prabha Sridevan, Chairperson, Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), said on Friday.
Addressing a conference on ‘Justice in IP: Incorporating the Marginalised Voices Into Mainstream Discourse’ hosted by Sramani Institute, Ms. Justice Sridevan also called for a conscious effort to factor in marginalised voices while framing IP policy as there was a lot to learn from these vulnerable communities. “Otherwise, the loss would be for mankind itself,” she said.
According to Ms. Justice Sridevan, globalisation and modernisation only made the need greater for preserving traditional knowledge and oral traditions.
She illustrated the interconnectedness between the well-being of humans and ecologies with a few examples of marginalised communities outside and within India —the Seri people who buried the placenta as a form of registering one’s birthplace, the community of people in Payyanur in Kerala who make the sacred ring ‘pavithra mothiram” or the bead-selling kuravas in Tamil Nadu.
Making a case for preserving the languages of many of these communities, Ms. Justice Sridevan said the destruction of a language was an important marker for the collapse of biodiversity. R. Chandrashekaran, Member (Technical), IPAB, explained the origins of patents and evolution of IP laws in India.
According to Kakoli Mitra, global coordinator for Sramani, said the workshop was held as part of the institute’s ‘kalpanyaya’ (justice in intellectual property) initiative aimed at diversifying the discourse on IP laws and policies so as to include marginalised voices and traditional know-how that lack protection under IPR regimes.
The initiative also seeks to promote conceptual heterogeneity in the understanding of intellectual property that goes beyond the narrow lens-view of law and economics, is rooted in local values, creates local jurisprudence and benefits all human beings.
She wants marginalised voices, native knowledge to be counted in the process