Janet Fuhrer featured in World Trademark Review article: “Just Be Respectful” – why brands must wise up to indigenous IP rights

May 03 2019

(Former) partner Janet M. Fuhrer was featured in a May 3, 2019 article in World Trademark Review speaking on the topic of indigenous IP rights. An excerpt of the article is below:

  • A sacred ritual in Bali has recently registered as a communal IP right
  • Move highlights how brand owners must be aware of indigenous works
  • Expert says practitioners should create a checklist and “be respectful”

Twice a year in Bali, Indonesia, locals gather at the Petilan temple to perform the sacred Ngerebong ritual, which is said to achieve harmony between humans, nature and God. When the ritual is next performed, there will be a key difference – it will be a registered as a communal IP rightWTR analyses how indigenous cultures are protecting their IP and speaks with an expert on how trademark practitioners must be more aware of this burgeoning field of rights.

Within many jurisdictions, attaining registered trademark protection for a ritual is a complicated process. Generally, legal protection requires a material form and doesn’t apply to more ephemeral entities such as orally transmitted knowledge. Regarding rituals, Janet M. Fuhrer, (former) partner for Ridout & Maybee LLP and vice chair for INTA’s Indigenous Rights Committee, tells WTR that registered protection is made possible through the expanding scope of non-traditional trademarks, so that “something like a ritual that is currently not protectable someday might be”.

To read the entire article, please visit the World Trademark Review website.

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Tags: Announcement, Firm News, Indigenous IP Rights, Interview