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This guide aims to help countries in transition decide whether and how best to protect traditional
knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) held by indigenous peoples and local communities. It describes the intellectual property (IP) concepts involved in protecting TK and TCEs and outlines existing international, regional and national protection systems. It then goes on to provide guidance on the issues that countries, and indigenous peoples and local communities, need to address when considering the role that IP can play in protecting TK and TCEs from misappropriation, and in generating and equitably sharing benefits from their commercialization.

Currently, countries in transition, like many other countries, lack a legal framework for protecting TK and TCEs as IP. This guide shows how such a framework can be developed as part of an overall IP strategy, by improving existing mechanisms and/or creating new ones. However, each country will need to consider the options that work best for it and the nature of the TK and TCEs for which protection is desired.

Currently, countries in transition, like many other countries, lack a legal framework for protecting TK and TCEs as IP. This guide shows how such a framework can be developed as part of an overall IP strategy, by improving existing mechanisms and/or creating new ones. However, each country will need to consider the options that work best for it and the nature of the TK and TCEs for which protection is desired.