The patenting of genetic resources and the privatization of strategic public goods
MetadataShow full item record
Since the recognition of the sovereign rights of countries over their genetic resources by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1993), developing countries rich in biodiversity have become more aware of the potential value of their resources. As a consequence their governments have engaged in the drafting and implementation of laws for controlling access to their genetic resources, which some consider as strategically important natural resources, on a par with oil and minerals (Ruiz-Caro, 2005) Besides implementing tough regulations at the national level, their representatives have found that there is an essential clash between the aims of the CBD and the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It has been argued that TRIPS promotes the illegal appropriation of biological, genetic resources and traditional knowledge of communities via the patenting system. In order to inhibit biopiracy, developing countries have asked for changes to the patenting system to include new requirements, such as proof of legal acquisition and disclosure of the country of origin of genetic material at the point of filing a patent.