Traditional Knowledge & Biopiracy:The Peruvian Maca root


Maca is a member of Cruciferae family which grows in the barren highlands of the Andes. It has been used for centuries by Andes people as food supplement because of its high protein and vitamin contents, and claims of being the enhancer for sexual performance and fertility. The dispute on Maca arises when Peruvian farming, cultural and association have formed alliance to protest the patents rewarded to the US companies. In this case study, there are three issues discussed; the first issue was on the US company (PureWorld) and other patent holders which used the biological-based knowledge to make profit without sharing the royalties with the people of Peru, or the farmer who grew Maca plant, the second issue discussed a legal battle against patentable products under US law which is expensive even with the support of other group as CIP, and the third discussed on the international law still does not acknowledge the value of indigenous knowledge. The detail about the case study can be obtained from the following links:

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Policies, Laws and Standards by countries​

Convention and Treaties​

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)​