It's not whether drug companies need patents to create new drugs - but whether society can survive monopoly control over medical research, according to research undertaken by RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International). The world's drug industry represents a health risk and cannot be entrusted with the task of medical research," Pat Mooney, executive director of RAFI insists.
Recent Content Related to Patents & Biopiracy
Will governments opt for a multilateral system of crop germplasm exchange or will they determine to pursue bilateral agreements between countries and companies? RAFI examines Africa's bargaining position, and concludes that bilateral negotiations over crop germplasm will benefit the North, at the expense of food security in the South.
RAFI contacted the inventors of the cloned sheep Dolly, confirming that that the worldwide patents on the cloning technology cover all animals, including humans.
Two trends in industrial agriculture are contributing to the erosion of farmers' rights and lead to bioserfdom: 1) Monsanto's 1996 gene licensing agreement; 2) "Precision farming" and the role it plays in the commodification of information technology and the growing influence of the life industry in farm-level decision-making.
A Colombian genetics institute has offered to return its collection of thousands of samples of human tissue collected in dozens of Colombian indigenous peoples' communities. Indigenous peoples' representatives, including Colombian Senator Lorenzo Muelas and the OrganizaciÛn Nacional IndÌgena de Colombia (ONIC - National Indigenous Peoples' Organisation of Colombia), are currently negotiating the formal return of control and ownership of the samples, which are housed in a Bogot· human tissue bank.
If you have a close eye on bioprospecting, you may have heard about the particularly grandiose plans of the International Organisation for Chemical Sciences in Development's (IOCD) Biotic Exploration Fund". The Fund is a major international effort to promote bioprospecting originally proposed by Thomas Eisner, an academic who "conceived and facilitated" the Merck/InBio deal in Costa Rica. IOCD has hired a former Science and Technology Adviser to the World Bank to push the Fund, which is being aggresively promoted to many potential Northern funding agencies.
IOCD, a Belgian-chartered international NGO with a legal identity in the United States, is unabashedly fanatical about the potential for bioprospecting to protect the environment and be a "sustainable source of economic development." In fact, according to IOCD, without bioprospecting, the world's diversity may be doomed: "In comparison with the severity of the global biodiversity crisis, the amount of bioprospecting in developing countries is clearly far too small. Hence, the only appropriate response to the global crisis would be a great expansion of the scale and quality of bioprospecting throughout the developing world."
Before disclosing the cloning breakthrough, patent applications were filed and research papers prepared for publication. PPL Therapeutics, a small biotechnology company will be assigned the patent. After the cloning announcement, shares of PPL Therapeutics jumped 16% in one day on the London Stock Exchange.
This map illustrates the transfer of human tissues through third countries. This graphic is part of the Communique on Human Tissue Trade.
Despite the promise of medical breakthroughs, the utilization of human tissue prompts intense ethical concerns regarding ownership of human biomaterials, eugenics, discrimination and medical confidentiality. A large and growing South to North and North to North movement of human tissue is taking place in an almost total policy and regulatory vacuum.
Just when we thought that the U.S. patent system couldn't possibly operate any more to the advantage of big business, there's a bill before the US Congress that proposes to modernize" the US Patent and Trademark Office by making it a private corporation. (1)
Privatization of the US PTO? This is not a joke. HR 400, "The 21st Century Patent System Improvement Act" is a series of six acts that propose major changes in the US patent system. Backed by powerful interests, the bill is moving quickly through Congress, and a vote is expected in the House of Representatives any day.
An introduction to intellectual property monopolies. The 70 page booklet produced by IDRC in 1996 is designed as an information and advocacy tool for civil society and policymakers in response to two new, legally binding international agreements: the Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Trade Organization's Trade Related Intellectual Property Agreement (WTO/TRIPs).
"Biopiracy" -- a term coined by RAFI in 1994 - refers to the use of intellectual property laws to gain exclusive monopoly control over genetic resources that are based on the knowledge and innovation of farmers and indigenous peoples. This issue examines a patent claim on Bolivian quinoa, a US patent on turmeric, and more.
The Parts of Life Agricultural Biodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge, and the Role of the Third System By Pat Roy Mooney
Development Dialogue is published by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.
After months of indecision and confusing signals, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has finally put an end to its internationally-denounced patent on the human cell line of a Hagahai indigenous person from Papua New Guinea. I hope this is the end of what is arguably the most offensive patent ever issued." says Alejandro Argumedo of the Canada-based Indigenous Peoples' Biodiversity Network (IPBN).
Pharmaceutical firms and biotech companies are approaching botanical gardens to buy samples of tropical plant diversity - a clear violation of the spirit - if not the law - of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The rights of farmers and indigenous peoples are being bypassed by corporate deals that make a mockery of the CBD's fundamental principles.
Human Tissue Collection Initiatives by the U.S. Military; Colombian Indigenous Peoples' Cells in the U.S.; Accompanying maps showing cell collections inColombia and Papua New Guinea
ISSUE: Biodiversity prospecting is the exploration, extraction and screening of biological diversity and indigenous knowledge for commercially valuable genetic and biochemical resources. Bilateral bioprospecting agreements are sanctioned by the multilateral Convention on Biological Diversity. In the vast majority of cases, however, commercial bioprospecting agreements cannot be effectively monitored or enforced by source communities, countries, or by the Convention, and amount to little more than "legalized" bio-piracy.
RAFI examines plant utility patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office from 1985 through mid-1995. Utility plant patenting is a threat to world food security; exceedingly broad patents on biological materials and the processes used to manipulate them are "locking up" new plant biotechnologies in the hands of a small number of corporations.
This issue looks at biopiracy case studies around the world including super-sweet brazzein from Gabon; the Foundation for Ethnobiology in Thailand; Peruvian indigenous peoples' rejection of Washington University's ICBG project; and more. A detailed list of bioprospecting and biopiracy activities (as of early 1996) is also included.
A detailed examination of the impact of the US Plant Patent Act. Passed by the US Congress in 1930, the PPA is the world's oldest sui generis intellectual property system designed for the patenting of life forms.