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BYU Law Review

Authors

Paul Figueroa

Abstract

Indigenous Guatemalan weavers are fighting for intellectual property laws that better protect their designs and other cultural expressions. The exploitation and appropriation by local and international companies has negatively affected the weavers’ livelihoods and resulted in culturally inappropriate uses of spiritual and t raditional symbols. Adhering to Western ideals of individual creativity and utility, intellectual property laws in most of the world (including Guatemala) are not suited to protect indigenous creations. To address this legal gap, some countries have adopte d sui generis legal regimes that align with communal notions of creation, ownership and stewardship found in indigenous knowledge systems. Based on extensive empirical field research, this Article finds that any criticisms against sui generis models are not borne out by the reality of the Panamanian sui generis model. This Article concludes by examining how the Panamanian model can be adapted to the Guatemalan context.

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© 2021 Brigham Young University Law Review


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