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Genetic resources,
Intellectual Property Rights
and Environmental Justice
Masterclass for Sustainable Development
Nov. 24, 2013

Brendan Coolsaet
Biodiversity Governance Unit
Centre for Philosophy of Law
Université catholique de Louvain
Using genetic resources

Pharmaceuticals

Plant Breeding

Taxonomy

Conservation

Industrial biotech.

Traditional use

Sources: plind/Flickr Creative Commons; Sam Fentress/Creative Commons; biologycorner.com; Marco Schmidt/Creative Commons
Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS)?

Source: CBD ABS Information Kit, 2011
Global distribution of biodiversity

+ 80% of the world's biotechnology-related patents are owned
by US, EU and Japan (Patent Cooperation Treaty, 2006)
Source: Barthlott, W., Kier, G. & Mutke, J. 1999. Biodiversity – The uneven distribution of a treasure. NNA Reports 12/1999: 18-28
Convention on Biological Diversity &
Nagoya Protocol
1992: The objectives of this Convention [...] are the conservation of
biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and
equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic
resources [...]

2010: The objective of this Protocol is the fair and equitable sharing of the
benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including by
appropriate access to genetic resources [...]

Not included:

&
Fair and equitable?
Multidimensional justice concerns

reparative justice

cognitive justice

historic entitlement

distributive justice

Sources: Creative Commons; Centre for Science and Environment; Kroll/CNCD-11.11.11

procedural justice
IPRs and genetic resources
IPR

Description

In Belgium

Patent

- exclusive and temporary
- novel invention that implies an inventive
step
- susceptible of industrial application

- inventions related to bio-material are patentable
- research exemptions
- Disclosure requirement (geographical origin)

Plant Variety
Right

- new, distinct, stable and uniform plant
varieties
- distinguished from any other plant
grouping by the expression of at least one
genotypic characteristic

research and breeding exemptions for acts
accomplished in a private, non-commercial,
experimental capacity and for breeding new
varieties

Geographical
Indications

- agricultural product or foodstuff
- protected due to its regional and local
nature

Sources: Coolsaet et al. 2013, Study for the implementation in Belgium of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Final report, 243p.
IPRs and environmental justice issues
DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE
Restrictions on access by developing countries to
markets in developed countries
Restrictions in the access to IP-protected goods
developed with genetic resources
Biopiracy concept and bilateral concepts of benefitsharing "presuppose intellectual property rights" !

REPARATIVE JUSTICE
Current IPRs serve the interests of users of GR/TK
without helping ensure a fair and equitable BS with
the providers.
Might be difficult to indentify "owners" of
transboundary genetic resources and traditional
knowledge
IPRs and environmental justice issues
PROCEDURAL JUSTICE
Indigenous and Local Communities miss technical and economic
resources to challenge patents through courts
Indigenous and Local Communities inventions and traditional knowledge
are ineligible for IP protection
Indigenous and Local Communities and their nation states face unequal
participation oppurtunities in international negotiations
Sovereignty and responsability for sharing of benefits rest at state level,
not local level
IPRs and environmental justice issues
HISTORIC ENTITLEMENT
Traditional sharing and genetic resources
commons might be inhibited
Nothern valuation vs. Southern conservation of
genetic resources.

COGNITIVE JUSTICE
Conflicting sharing ethos between CBD and
WTO/WIPO
Local communities might not see genetic
resources/traditional knowledge as ownable
commodities.

Source: www.savagechickens.com
I want more...
Convention on Biological Diversity: ABS Series
Factsheets on Genetic Resources, Access and Benefit-sharing,
Traditional Knowledge and the Nagoya Protocol http://www.cbd.int/abs/

Scoop.it channel
Overview of world news and perspectives on the 2010 Nagoya
Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing to the Convention on
Biological Diversity - http://www.scoop.it/t/nagoya-protocol

Intellectual Property Watch
Independent news and analysis on international IP policymaking
(including biodiversity) - http://www.ip-watch.org
Thank you.

brendan.coolsaet@uclouvain.be
http://twitter.com/bcoolsaet

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Genetic resources, Intellectual Property Rights and Environmental Justice

  • 1. Genetic resources, Intellectual Property Rights and Environmental Justice Masterclass for Sustainable Development Nov. 24, 2013 Brendan Coolsaet Biodiversity Governance Unit Centre for Philosophy of Law Université catholique de Louvain
  • 2. Using genetic resources Pharmaceuticals Plant Breeding Taxonomy Conservation Industrial biotech. Traditional use Sources: plind/Flickr Creative Commons; Sam Fentress/Creative Commons; biologycorner.com; Marco Schmidt/Creative Commons
  • 3. Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS)? Source: CBD ABS Information Kit, 2011
  • 4. Global distribution of biodiversity + 80% of the world's biotechnology-related patents are owned by US, EU and Japan (Patent Cooperation Treaty, 2006) Source: Barthlott, W., Kier, G. & Mutke, J. 1999. Biodiversity – The uneven distribution of a treasure. NNA Reports 12/1999: 18-28
  • 5. Convention on Biological Diversity & Nagoya Protocol 1992: The objectives of this Convention [...] are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources [...] 2010: The objective of this Protocol is the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources [...] Not included: &
  • 7. Multidimensional justice concerns reparative justice cognitive justice historic entitlement distributive justice Sources: Creative Commons; Centre for Science and Environment; Kroll/CNCD-11.11.11 procedural justice
  • 8. IPRs and genetic resources IPR Description In Belgium Patent - exclusive and temporary - novel invention that implies an inventive step - susceptible of industrial application - inventions related to bio-material are patentable - research exemptions - Disclosure requirement (geographical origin) Plant Variety Right - new, distinct, stable and uniform plant varieties - distinguished from any other plant grouping by the expression of at least one genotypic characteristic research and breeding exemptions for acts accomplished in a private, non-commercial, experimental capacity and for breeding new varieties Geographical Indications - agricultural product or foodstuff - protected due to its regional and local nature Sources: Coolsaet et al. 2013, Study for the implementation in Belgium of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Final report, 243p.
  • 9. IPRs and environmental justice issues DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE Restrictions on access by developing countries to markets in developed countries Restrictions in the access to IP-protected goods developed with genetic resources Biopiracy concept and bilateral concepts of benefitsharing "presuppose intellectual property rights" ! REPARATIVE JUSTICE Current IPRs serve the interests of users of GR/TK without helping ensure a fair and equitable BS with the providers. Might be difficult to indentify "owners" of transboundary genetic resources and traditional knowledge
  • 10. IPRs and environmental justice issues PROCEDURAL JUSTICE Indigenous and Local Communities miss technical and economic resources to challenge patents through courts Indigenous and Local Communities inventions and traditional knowledge are ineligible for IP protection Indigenous and Local Communities and their nation states face unequal participation oppurtunities in international negotiations Sovereignty and responsability for sharing of benefits rest at state level, not local level
  • 11. IPRs and environmental justice issues HISTORIC ENTITLEMENT Traditional sharing and genetic resources commons might be inhibited Nothern valuation vs. Southern conservation of genetic resources. COGNITIVE JUSTICE Conflicting sharing ethos between CBD and WTO/WIPO Local communities might not see genetic resources/traditional knowledge as ownable commodities. Source: www.savagechickens.com
  • 12. I want more... Convention on Biological Diversity: ABS Series Factsheets on Genetic Resources, Access and Benefit-sharing, Traditional Knowledge and the Nagoya Protocol http://www.cbd.int/abs/ Scoop.it channel Overview of world news and perspectives on the 2010 Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity - http://www.scoop.it/t/nagoya-protocol Intellectual Property Watch Independent news and analysis on international IP policymaking (including biodiversity) - http://www.ip-watch.org