Foulston Siefkin Lecture, 2018: Ruth Okediji

Washburn University School of Law
and the Washburn Law Journal
proudly present the
41st Annual Foulston Siefkin Lecture

Ruth Okediji
Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law
Harvard Law School

"The Right to Own?: Protecting Indigenous Peoples' Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property"

Thursday – April 12, 2018
12:10-1:00 p.m. – Room 114

Photograph: Ruth Okediji.A renowned scholar in international intellectual property (IP) law and a foremost authority on the role of intellectual property in social and economic development, Professor Okediji has advised inter-governmental organizations, regional economic communities, and national governments on a range of matters related to technology, innovation policy, and development. Her widely cited scholarship on IP and development has influenced government policies in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and South America. Her ideas have helped shape national strategies for the implementation of the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). She works closely with several United Nations agencies, research centers, and international organizations on the human development effects of international IP policy, including access to knowledge, access to essential medicines, and issues related to indigenous innovation systems.


Many indigenous groups possess economically valuable knowledge, developed over generations — so-called "traditional knowledge" — about the medicinal or therapeutic applications of plant genetic resources on their land. There is some consensus that these groups are entitled to challenge patents or other intellectual property rights granted by other countries on inventions based on such knowledge. There is far less agreement, and indeed significant skepticism, that the "traditional knowledge" produced by indigenous peoples should be the subject of property rights, rather than constitute part of the public domain. This lecture will explore recent developments in international law to grant entitlement rights to indigenous groups and implications for the intellectual property system.

Logo: Foulston Liefkin LLP.
has sponsored this lecture series since 1978 to enrich the
quality of education at Washburn University School of Law.
Articles derived from the lectures are published by
the Washburn Law Journal.