Traditional knowledge is not formally protected under the international IP system. The difficulties in defining traditional knowledge and the collective aspect of it pose several challenges because IP systems grant term-limited proprietary rights to a specific individual or institution.
In a Canadian context
Issues with IPR and its imposition on TK and Indigenous communities expressions of TK often cannot qualify for protection because
additionally Canadian Copyright laws do not protect Indigenous knowledge because of the above stated.
For more information see Younging, G. (2010). Protecting traditional knowledge : the WIPO intergovernmental committee on intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, for WIPO Indigenous Panel on the Role of the Public Domain, Geneva.