Willkie Team Secures Jane Goodall’s Seminal Chimpanzee Database

March 29, 2019

The safe transfer of primate data, original field notes and other materials successfully secures the legacy of Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute.

Over the past year, a team of Willkie attorneys assisted the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in negotiating with Duke University to secure JGI’s rights in, and the safe transfer of, the world’s largest and most vital collection of primate data (the Gombe Database), as well as original field notes, videos, photographs and books created by Dr. Jane Goodall. The successful transfer helped secure the legacy of Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute. The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and scientific work of Dr. Goodall. Dr. Goodall is known as one of the world’s foremost primatologists, who in 1960 at the age of 26, traveled into Tanzania to explore the then unknown world of wild chimpanzees. Dr. Goodall’s work laid the foundation for our modern understanding of chimpanzees and the conservation efforts needed to protect them. Dr. Goodall is also a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations.

Since 2010, Duke University had been the custodian and curator of the Gombe Database and the other original Jane Goodall materials and artifacts. As the term of the partnership with Duke ends, the Jane Goodall Institute negotiated an agreement with Duke to safely move the Gombe Database to a new home (to be announced in 2019) and ensure that JGI had clear rights to enhance and grow the Gombe Database in its new home. Willkie partners Elizabeth Gray and Eugene Chang, and associates Matthew Makover and Max Goodman, negotiated and drafted the terms under which the Gombe Database will be transferred and preserved.