Root cause: protecting traditional knowledge


Root cause: protecting traditional knowledge

With a lack of prior art, multiple authors and little existing IP infrastructure, the cultural expressions of indigenous communities are a challenge when it comes to protection. WIPR takes a look at the potential solutions.


From Masai Barefoot Technology fitness shoes, which are designed to promote core strength by mimicking the instability of walking on uneven ground in the wearer, to Louis Vuitton’s Masai-inspired range of clothing, the Maasai name has been used in the branding of many different consumer items.

Earlier this year, the Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative was founded to allow the semi-nomadic Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania greater control over their ‘brand’, and assert IP rights to strengthen their economy.

Masai, Maasai IP initiative, traditional knowledge, WIPO