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.

In the midst of our new fight over geoengineering near the Galapagos, we've got good news over a very old fight with Monsanto... Hope Shand just phoned from Munich to say that the European Patent Office has agreed with ETC's arguments and overturned Monsanto's soybean "species" patent. There is no further appeal!!

After two days of intense diplomatic wrangling in Geneva, April 10-11 2003, US patent officials succeeded in turning the expert advice of an intergovernmental secretariat critical of Terminator technology into little more than a promotional paper for plant breeders' rights.