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Teff Flour Patent Controversy Settled: Dutchman Does Not Have Patent Right to the Ethiopian Food Staple

Teff is an Ethiopian ancient grain used to make injera, a spongy fermented flatbread that is a food staple of Ethiopian culture. In 2007, a Dutchman, Jans Roosjen, obtained two patents for teff flour. The Dutch District Court of The Hague recently invalidated those two patents in Ancientgrain BV v Bakels Senior NV, and Ethiopians are…
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WIPO IGC 39: Unraveling the Tiered Approach to TK/TCEs

One of the major innovations of the IGC, in its long-running search for international legal instruments for the effective protection of TK/TCEs (Traditional Knowledge / Traditional Cultural Expressions), is the idea of tiered or differentiated approaches to TK/TCEs. The essence of looking at TK/TCEs on a tiered basis is the recognition that some TK/TCE categories are diffused…
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GMO Crops, Risks to Biodiversity, and the Enduring Value of Indigenous Knowledge

As early as 2021, Bayer (previously Bayer-Monsanto) will release SmartStax Pro, the first federally-approved GMO to use RNA interference – a biological process that prevents cells from creating specific proteins – to defend plants against consumption by specific insect pests. Release of a GMO naturally corresponds with a reduction in biodiversity as the previous crops are outcompeted…
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Increasing inclusion of Indigenous traditional knowledge in post-secondary education

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) called for funding “to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms” (see Call to Action 62(ii)). The focus thus far has been on training K-12 teachers. However, in the spirit of reconciliation, and in service of a full and comprehensive…
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