is like copyrighting something you found. Patent and copyright laws exist to encourage creativity, not piracy or fraud.
Patenting a process someone else taught you for free, and making a profit off it you don’t share with them, doesn’t encourage economic development, it just builds walls between cultures and encourages bitterness. It’s morally wrong, and ought to be legally wrong. But this is another way Rationalized Capitalism poisons even non-RatCap cultures, even threatens their continued existence.
But I will be surprised if they get justice from the WTO. The WTO is run by corporations and their wholly-owned governments, just like NAFTA/FTAA/NAU.
Indigenous Knowledge belongs to the Indigenous Peoples, even if they share it with others without making them sign something first, or pay for it. Indigenous cultures are often very different from RatCap culture, but they are not without “law” or “principles,” even if they’re oral and traditional and not written down (until White anthropologists arrive anyway…). Freely-shared knowledge doesn’t cease belonging to the Indigenous Community it came from. The most you may do is share it freely yourself, though make sure before doing so that you’re allowed to even do that, because some IK is not to be widely distributed among people who don’t encounter the IC personally. Yes, when an IC extends you hospitality, you become subject to their “law,” just like when you visit a family, you follow the rules of their house. If you take advantage of them, you’ve betrayed them: Yes, it’s TREASON, not just theft or violation of “intellectual property rights.” Depending on the culture, they might have every right to kill you and your family, even declare war on your “tribe.”
The use of patent laws to grant ill-gotten monopolies is misuse, it’s abuse. It’s legally incorrect. In the U.S. Republic, legal monopolies (e.g., sports leagues) are granted on a case-by-case basis by Act of Congress, usually only for very good, exceptional reasons. In any case, they’re not patents or copyrights, they’re a completely different category.
Of course, we can’t expect the Corporate/Slavemaster Republic to do anything but twist the law for the benefit of its corporate slavemasters and the detriment of everybody else.