During the course of bio-prospecting and biodiversity conservation projects, scientists, researchers from the life-science industry, and environmental protection groups attempt to access indigenous and traditional communities’ knowledge of the local biodiversity. They confront these groups with the idea that their knowledge can be commercialized. Although the affected communities partly adapt to this view, they insist on their right to decide autonomously and by their own laws whether they are willing to share their knowledge. External actors, however, often reject the right of indigenous self-determination. The evolving conflicts do not only take place on a local level – varying domestic regulatory approaches also shape them. At the same time, a multitude of international organizations also address the issue of access to traditional knowledge, and their activities in turn shape interactions on a domestic and local level. In this paper, the complex interactions that are associated with the access to traditional knowledge shall be regarded as a multi-level process of adaptation and resistance. Empirically, this paper focuses on traditional knowledge policies in India and Brazil. The analysis of the interplay between local, national, and international traditional knowledge regulations in both countries shall serve to explore some possible avenues for further research on processes of adaption and resistance.