ATK & Intellectual Property Rights

on June 15, 2011

Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) is knowledge owned by Indigenous peoples which differs from nation to nation and is a key component to their culture.

ATK has traditionally been protected by the community on a collective basis and is subject to the context in which it is being used.  Generally, certain aspects of Aboriginal Knowledge may be shared with researchers following traditional governance protocols.

In order to understand the concepts related to ATK, it is important to meet with the First Nation, in accordance with their cultural and traditional protocols. Language and inherent processes are a significant aspect of ATK and must receive special consideration when engaging Elders or ATK holders.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)

Intellectual Property is the legal ownership of a unique creation. IP owners are granted certain rights, including exclusive rights to:

  • Financial benefit,
  • Reproduction/replication

How can IPRs affect First Nations?

IP ownership is held by an individual, limited in duration and promote commercial usage. ATK is collectively held by a community and First Nations may have difficulty in seeking PRs for ATK because the knowledge is not possessed solely by an individual.

Indigenous peoples have been victims of intellectual theft, misuse, misappropriation and bopiracy of their ATK.

Assembly of First NationsATK & Intellectual Property Rights
Assembly of First Nations