Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Paul F. Steinberg

Reader 2

Heather Williams

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Rights Information

© 2011 Laurie K. Egan


Abstract: Indigenous communities have worked for centuries to develop systems of knowledge pertaining to their local environments. Much of the knowledge that has been directly acquired or passed down over generations is of marketable use to corporations, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. Upon gaining the necessary information to convert traditional knowledge into a marketable entity, the corporation will place a patent on the product of their research and development and reap the monetary benefits under the protection of intellectual property legislation. Without appropriate benefit sharing, indigenous communities are robbed of their cumulative innovation and development and denied access to the very medicines that they assisted in development. This study will examine the efforts made by indigenous communities to develop benefit-sharing agreements under national ‘sui generis’ legislation and the international legislation of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


Senior thesis completed December 2011.

Egan_ThesisPresentation.pdf (3913 kB)
Thesis Presentation