Patents & Biopiracy

Biopiracy, a term originally coined by ETC Group, refers to the appropriation of the knowledge and genetic resources of farming and indigenous communities by individuals or institutions that seek exclusive monopoly control (patents or intellectual property) over these resources and knowledge. ETC Group believes that intellectual property is predatory on the rights and knowledge of farming communities and indigenous peoples. Through nanotechnology- and synthetic biology-related patents, intellectual property claims are now being extended to elements of the periodic table and to key metabolic pathways involved in cellular functioning (and resulting in natural products with high commercial value).

Featured Content

An efficient, transparent pathway for technological advancement would save national governments time and money while reducing risk. Those proposing new technologies and their backers seek to minimize risk. Especially, re-insurers and investors welcome steps that make government intervention and/or public responses predictable.

 
Problems, Fascinations and Opportunities: A Preface
 

A new report by the ETC Group concludes that the social, environmental and bio-weapons threats of synthetic biology surpass the possible dangers and abuses of biotech. The full text of the 70-page report, Extreme Genetic Engineering: An Introduction to Synthetic Biology, is available for downloading free-of-charge on the ETC Group website.

Issue: Replacement of major cash crop (Gum Arabic)

Countries affected: Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and others

Impact: Possible loss of $ 60 million in annual export earnings and seasonal employment

New starch-based substitutes for gum arabic and other water soluble gums threaten to replace a major portion of gum exports from several African countries.

Auditors Report to the Board of Directors of ETC Group:

We have audited the balance sheet of  etc group: action group on erosion, technology and concentration as at August 31, 2003 and the statements of operations and net assets and cash flows for the year then ended. These financial statements are the responsibility of etc group's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audit.