Realising that traditional knowledge holders stand outside the fold of intellectual property rights and are most often negatively affected by them, the AAAS has created a handbook that attempts to make intellectual property issues and protection options more understandable and readily available for traditional knowledge holders, human rights organisations, and legal professionals.

Its ultimate goal is to help communities understand and identify potential protection mechanisms already present in the current intellectual property rights regime that may be applied to their knowledge.

For communities that do not wish to participate in the IP regime, it offers suggestions and options to avoid inappropriate claims on their knowledge by others.