African Traditional Intellectual Property Rights, Customary Law, and Legal Pluralism

In: African Journal of Legal Studies

Abstract

Indeed, intellectual property rights are not new to traditional African communities. Traditional legal systems of protection in Africa such as customary law protected the rights of members of these communities. These systems of protection are still used. There are also practices of monopoly from the past regarding the use of some products of creative works. This paper examines the various ways in which traditional intellectual properties have been protected over the years which are similar in some ways to modern intellectual property rights. Thus, proposing that the adoption of a pluralistic protection mechanism (legal pluralism) for traditional intellectual properties could resolve legal issues related to them in Africa.