Intellectual Property, Traditional Knowledge, Gender Equality and Benin Bronze Casting Art

22 August 2018
Hosted by:

University of Ottawa

uOttawa, Fauteux Hall, FTX 135

Ottawa, Canada

TIME: 2:00-4:00 pm

The Benin bronze casting art has a very rich history behind it and substantial literature, have examined its historical, anthropological and social dimensions. However, the intellectual property (IP) and traditional knowledge (TK) gender related dimensions of the art have not been fully explored, if at all. Increasingly, gender issues are becoming relevant in IP and TK conversations, especially from an African innovation perspective. Generally, concepts such as authorship, innovation and ownership that are important for which underpin IP law are defined from masculine perspectives. Also, women face systemic barriers, which make it difficult for them to participate in creative and innovative venture. Such barriers may be in form of customary norms which excludes a particular gender from participating in specific cultural creative activities. The Benin bronze casting art, which is a cultural creative craft, is customarily limited to the male gender. Thus, this paper seeks to set a research agenda for future research(es) by highlighting, without comprehensively discussing, relevant approaches, questions and methodologies that an IP and TK gender related focused research on the Benin bronze casting art should adopt.


Desmond Osaretin Oriakhogba is a lawyer, and lecturer in law at the University of Benin, Nigeria. He is currently on leave conducting research and training jointly at the University of Cape Town and the University of Ottawa. Oriakhogba recently completed his PhD research (awaiting examination) in the Department of Commercial Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa (UCT), where he explored the interface between copyright and competition law in relation to the regulation of collecting societies in Nigeria and South Africa. He worked as a research assistant in the Intellectual Property (IP) Unit, UCT and assisted in research projects with Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) and ASK Justice. Oriakhogba is currently at the University of Ottawa with Open AIR’s New and Emerging Researcher Group as a QES-Advanced Scholar conducting research on the IP-gender gap, traditional knowledge and the empowerment of rural women bead-workers in the Kwazulu Natal Province, South Africa.