Geographical indications and indigenous intellectual property

Date of this Version


Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Citation only

van Caenegem, W. (2015). Geographical indications and indigenous intellectual property. In M. Rimmer (Ed.), Indigenous intellectual property: A handbook of contemporary Research (pp. 289-310). Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Access the publisher

2015 HERDC sumbission

© Copyright, The Editor and Contributors Severally, 2015




In this chapter the term “Indigenous’ in ‘Indigenous intellectual property’ is taken to imply a legal order that persists but has been deprived of its previously sovereign status. It has been rendered subordinate by an introduced nominative system. Thus ‘Indigenous intellectual property law’ exists but cannot be universally enforced within the relevant jurisdiction. (…) The simplest solution to the ‘problem’ of enforcement of Indigenous law applying to cultural expressions and technical knowledge, is to restore its sovereign status; i.e. to recognise that it has at least the same status as a source of law as introduced law. A number of Australian law reform bodies have considered, but rejected this solution , so that Aboriginal ‘customary’ law remains subordinate notwithstanding the fact that Aboriginal people are now recognised as having a ‘unique status’.

This document is currently not available here.



This document has been peer reviewed.