The limits of ABS laws: why Gumbi Gumbi and other bush foods and medicines need specific indigenous knowledge protections

Daniel Robinson, Margaret Raven, John Hunter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The Australian system of access and benefit sharing (ABS) relating to biological resources provides inadequate protection to Indigenous knowledge (IK). This chapter explores a number of Australian examples where IK associated with endemic species has been utilised for research and/or commercialisation, and where patents have been obtained relating to such uses. The examples that we present in this chapter highlight issues and gaps that exist with the current Australian ABS regime. The chapter is also a collaborative response that reflects common community-based Indigenous voices which are communicating deep concerns about the cultural and spiritual integrity of IK and how their knowledge is being unfairly appropriated for commercial gains using patents (and other intellectual property rights):

It is commonly expressed by Aboriginal communities that they are concerned about their knowledge being stolen and it is our personal responsibility as professional Aboriginal people to support our communities.

From these perspectives, we make suggestions for how these issues might be rectified.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiodiversity, genetic resources and intellectual property
Subtitle of host publicationdevelopments in access and benefit sharing
EditorsCharles Lawson, Kamalesh Adhikari
Place of PublicationNew York ; London
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781351580342, 9781315098517
ISBN (Print)9781138298620
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Intellectual Property


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