6 Sep 2010

Samoa develops intellectual property rights law

5:41 am on 6 September 2010

The Samoa Law Reform Commission is developing intellectual property rights to safeguard traditional knowledge and expressions of culture unique to Samoa.

A Commission spokesman, Houlton Faasau, told a workshop the law reform is long overdue.

He says other countries around the World have been stealing Samoan ideas and traditional knowledge because there are no laws protecting them.

Mr Faasau says of particular concern is the protection of traditional knowledge of Samoan tattooists and traditional healers.

He says the idea is to patent traditional knowledge so Samoans may reap the benefit of their own ideas.

Traditional knowledge includes mental inventories of local biological resources, animal breeds, and local plants, crops and tree species.

Mr Faasau gave as an example the mamala plant, which was taken for its medicinal value by Westerners and patented as theirs.

He says the knowledge of the medicinal value of the plant came from a resident of Falealupo on Savai'i.