The subset of Genetic Resources covers two broad areas of concern about intellectual property: aspects which impact on knowledge about the medical uses of genetic resources and those that impact on knowledge about their use for food and agriculture. Briefly, the debate on IPRs on genetic resources started in earnest when the first patents were granted in the USA in the mid 1980s. This has become a global issue with the coming into force of the World Trade Organisation and its Agreement on the Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property rights (TRIPs) and especially its controversial Article 27.3(b) on patenting of genetic resources. Prior to the 1980s the only IP issues concerned process patents for manipulating genetic resources and Plant Variety Protection agreements and Seed laws that governed acces and use of seeds. Wider than that, there is a concern to recognise that the knowledge component of genetic resources whose provenance is usually from 'wild' living organisms that have been nurtured by people or from local varieties and breeds that have been developed by farmers and pastoralists cannot be patented, because identification of genetic resources and their knowledge component can only be classed as a 'discovery'. "Beyond intellectual property" is now a common debate as genetic use restriction technologies and other control mechanisms are being researched and developed by corporations and their research institutes.
Resources related to Action Aid's campaign on genetic resources with links to papers on IPRs, TRIPs, GM crops, agricultural trade and corporate control.
ETC Group Communiqué on the uncertainties surrounding intellectual property rights, which, being increasingly unacceptable to industry, is why new tools for monopoly control of biological and other resources are being developed.
Various archived articles from Biotechnology and Development Monitor concerning aspects of IPRs, seed systems and biotechnology. The website is currently not active (2014).
A useful personal weblog on international negotiations on biodiversity issues.
UK Government IPR Commission's website containing background, papers, conference reports and UK government response. Commission's Report: "Integrating IPRs and Development Policy" available in many languages.
Authoritative introduction to these issues by Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN) concerning African countries that are being forced to choose between two conflicting paths for agricultural research and development: one rooted in the knowledge and practices of its farmers and agricultural biodiversity or one dependent on the products of Northern corporations.
UKabc portal on the IT PGRFA (International Seed Treaty) that governs the access, use, conservation and development of the genetic resources of food security crop and forage species. Treaty outlaws IPRs on selected PGRFA. Links to all official FAO, media and CSO resources on the Treaty.
Full text of 1994 book on the impact of intellectual property on trade, agricultural biodiversity, and rural society by The Crucible Group, hosted by IDRC.
Full text and background of proposed treaty designed to ensure that governments and Indigenous Peoples, who are the caretakers of their part of the genetic commons, establish the appropriate statutory mechanisms needed to ensure both sovereignty and open access to the world's genetic diversity.
QUNO publications on Intellectual Property and agriculture, including aspects related to genetic resources, food, sui generis systems and related issues; and with links to further relevant QUNO work on Trade and Investment
Full text and publication details of Volume 1 (ownership, conservation and exchange of genetic resources) and Volume 2 (legal mechanisms) which update People, Plants and Patents. Published by The Crucible Group/IDRC in 2000.
Introduction to the issues in a Kenyan context, with an emphasis on farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk, and the need for protocols on intellectual property. Includes Via Campesina's statement on Farmers' Rights.
This Greenpeace report is one in a series that call for a substantial restriction of, or a complete end to, the patenting of genes and living organisms(2004)
Comprehensive web resources prepared and maintained by Geoff Tansey for the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) on key issues relating to genetic resources governance including WTO/TRIPs and impacts of different measures on food security and agricultural biodiversity.
An online, searchable archive of public domain documented uses of traditional ecological knowledge concerning indigenous knowledge and plant species, necessary to establish prior art. Includes taxonomic data, ethnobotanical uses, scientific/medical papers, and patent applications.
Discussion paper prepared for the Commonwealth Secretariat on capacity building priorities for the Review of TRIPs Article 27.3(b). Extensive links to related papers and sites.
Third World Network's pages on IP issues. Extensive and historical coverage of the issues from an authoritative developing country perspective.
Website of the institution that governs this 65 nation Convention on Plant Variety Protection (PVP) of crops and flowers. Details of the Convention, membership, conduct, implementation.
World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) pages on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources with links to Traditional Knowledge, and Folklore. Includes coverage of the intergovernmental committee covering all three issues.
Review by GRAIN of moves by the World Intellectual Property Organisation to implement a single global system for approval and administration of patents.
WTO's pages on the Agreement on Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property rights (TRIPs), highlighting the patents clauses which include genetic resources patents. Links to all other aspects of trade and intellectual property.
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