8 Sep 2010

Land law seen as model for Samoa intellectual property law

10:06 am on 8 September 2010

Samoa's Law Reform Commission is exploring whether the law on customary lands and titles could be extended to include intellectual property laws.

Legal analyst Houlton Faasau says other countries have been stealing Samoan ideas and traditional knowledge, such as tatau or tattoos, as there is no law to protect them.

He has been tasked with researching current legal and cultural frameworks available that might help Samoa safeguard traditional knowledge and expressions of culture.

Houlton Faasau says consultations are being held with a variety of sectors, including landowners and the land and titles court.

"When it comes down to it, who owns this, who owns that, we have to look at the question of customary land ownership, cos every culture and every tradition is actually linked to land. So we'll actually look at the existing traditional framework in relation to special courts to see whether the jurisdiction of the Lands and Titles should be extended to actually look into property rights, if we are successful in creating intellectual property rights over traditional knowledge and expressions of culture."

Samoa Law Reform legal analyst, Houlton Faasau.