Collecting information in the fields of-- Biopiracy and Bio-prospecting – A Brief Study,- Effects of biopiracy on Biodiversity,- Various Case Studies from the Past,- Laws to prevent further abuse of bio- resources.
Brief Description -- Biopiracy is a situation where indigenous knowledge of nature, originating with indigenous people, is used by others for profit, without permission from and with little or no compensation or recognition to the indigenous people themselves.- Bioprospecting is an umbrella term describing the process of discovery and commercialization of new products based in biological resources, typically in less-developed countries. Bioprospecting often draws on indigenous knowledge about uses and characteristics of plants and animals. In this way, bioprospecting includes biopiracy, the exploitative appropriation of indigenous forms of knowledge by commercial actors, as well as the search for previously unknown compounds in organisms that have never been used in traditional medicine.
Due to the competition in the pharmaceutical and agricultural area, big companies do not have time to collect samples legally, so they engage in biopiracy in order to be the first to patent biological material.
Illegal collection of Bio Samples in the biodiversity “hot spots”. Collaboration with universities, governments and non-government organizations, which are able to contribute relatively low-cost field research and input. ◦ In exchange for their involvement, those organizations receive: project funding Scholarships technological hardware.
W R Grace Company patented the pesticide extract from the neem tree (sample taken from India). German Pharmaceutical company patented illegally manzana variety of the chamomile (sample taken from Mexico).
Biopiracy alters the environment, which in turn causes Biodiversity depletion. Food security is affected as biodiversity is a “safety net” that increases food security. Loss of biodiversity, which is sometimes irreversible, often means a loss of choices. Greater wildlife diversity may decrease the spread of many wildlife pathogens to humans. In addition to agriculture, biodiversity contributes to a range of other sectors, including - "ecotourism" pharmaceuticals cosmetics fisheries.
The Maya ICBG controversyThe Maya ICBG Controversy took place in 1999-2000, when the International Co-operative BiodiversityGroup led by Ethno-biologist Dr. Brent Berlin wasaccused of being engaged in unethical forms ofbioprospecting by several NGOs and indigenousorganizations. The ICBG aimed to document thebiodiversity of Chiapas, Mexico and the ethnobotanicalknowledge of the indigenous Maya People - in order toascertain whether there were possibilities of developingmedical products based on any of the plants used bythe indigenous groups. CASE STUDY #01
The rosy periwinkleThe Rosy Periwinkle case dates from the 1950s. Therosy periwinkle, while native to Madagascar, hadbeen widely introduced into other tropical countriesaround the world well before the discoveryof vincristine. This meant that researchers couldobtain local knowledge from one country and plantsamples from another. The locally known medicalproperties of the plant were not the same as themedical properties discovered and commerciallyused by Eli Lilly. The use of the plant as a curefor diabetes was the original stimulus for CASE STUDY #02
Basmati rice In 2000, the US corporation RiceTec (a subsidiary of RiceTec AG of Liechtenstein) attempted to patent certain hybrids of basmati rice and semi-dwarf long- grain rice (see U.S. Patent No. 5,663,484). The Indian government intervened and several claims of the patent were invalidated. Meanwhile, the European Commission has agreed to protect basmati rice under its regulations pertaining to geographical indications. CASE STUDY #03
One common misunderstanding is that pharmaceutical companies patent the plants they collect. While obtaining a patent on a naturally occurring organism as previously known or used is not possible, patents may be taken out on specific chemicals isolated or developed from plants. Often these patents are obtained with a stated and researched use of those chemicals. Generally the existence, structure and synthesis of those compounds is not a part of the indigenous medical knowledge that led researchers to analyze the plant in the first place. As a result, even if the indigenous medical knowledge is taken as prior art, that knowledge does not by itself make the active chemical compound "obvious," which is the standard applied under patent law.
The CBD came into force in 1993. It secured rights to control access to genetic resources for the countries in which those resources are located. One objective of the CBD is to enable lesser-developed countries to better benefit from their resources and traditional knowledge. Under the rules of the CBD, bio- prospectors are required to obtain informed consent to access such resources, and must share any benefits with the biodiversity-rich country. However, some critics believe that the CBD has failed to establish appropriate regulations to prevent biopiracy. Others claim that the main problem is the failure of national governments to pass appropriate laws implementing the provisions of the CBD. The CBD has been ratified by all countries in the world except for Andorra, Holy See and United States. The 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) and the 2001 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture are further relevant international agreements.