Ftas Facilitates Biopiracy: The Illustration Of Peru

The U.S. of A. of America has done it, too done it again. As component subdivision of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) alongside Peru, the US has managed to wrest an amendment inward the existing Intellectual Property laws that almost ‘facilitates biopiracy too hamper Peru’s seat equally a protector of traditional knowledge,’ reports SciDev.net

Well, I am non surprised. In fact, those of us who direct maintain followed the regional too bilateral merchandise agreements, are aware that the US is forcing a TRIPs-plus understanding the globe over. The Barcelona-based GRAIN had before done a comprehensive written report entitled: “Bilateral agreements imposing TRIPs summation intellectual belongings rights on biodiversity inward developing countries.” (The updated written report inward illustration you lot missed it was made available inward Mar 2008 too tin hold out accessed at http://www.grain.org/rights/tripsplus.cfm?id=68)

What makes Peru’s illustration real interesting (and a lesson inward how merchandise regimes are beingness used to seek command over genetic resources too its accompanying traditional knowledge) is that it leaves plenty range for misusing the provisions of Decision 148 of the regulations of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), of which Republic of Peru is a member. This provision makes it amply clear that “biological fabric existing inward nature or those which tin hold out isolated, including genome or germplasm of whatever natural living being, cannot hold out dependent area of a patent.”

According to Scidev.net, the Peruvian amendment straight off says biological fabric “in whole or inward part” cannot hold out considered an invention, but at that spot is no explicit advert of genes or micro-organisms. The Definition of micro-organisms has over the years been enlarged inward the lite of the TRIPs agreement, too straight off includes genes too jail cellular telephone lines. And microorganisms tin hold out patented.

As if this is non enough, rules concerning traditional cognition direct maintain also been suitably changed. Earlier, CAN made it mandatory for companies/research institutes to acquaint a ‘certificate of origin’ before seeking patents, but the Peruvian amendment straight off requires solely a license to hold out filed for the purpose. Failing to adhere to the terms of the license does non atomic number 82 to scrapping of the patent anymore. The terms of status for seeking a patent on traditional cognition thence direct maintain been amply diluted.

Government officials inward Republic of Peru were, equally expected, quick to state that the Peruvian amendments would non facilitate biopiracy. The tidings written report quotes Manuel Siguenas from the National Institute for Agrarian Innovation, equally saying: “The changes of the police describe do non allow the patenting of genes, because the amendment reiterates that the biological fabric existing inward nature, either inward whole or inward part, is non an invention.”

This is an absurd arguement inward defence. We already direct maintain hundreds of genes from the human body, equally good equally from other biological forms including plants, microorganisms, insects, too animals, beingness patented. Swiss Multinational seed giant, Syngenta, for instance has filed for mass patents on rice genes. There are numerous other examples of patents granted on genes. I neglect to empathize who this authorities official (quoted inward the report) is trying to befool.

This amendment was psuhed hurriedly to run across that George Bush tin position his signatures before he quit component subdivision on January 20. Like an obedient servant, Republic of Peru passed the amendment to the IPR laws half-dozen days prior on January xiv too that besides without a debate, good inward fourth dimension for George Bush to claim it equally but about other plume inward his tainted cap. Ironically, it was on January xiv that the regional authorities of Cusco inward Republic of Peru had approved but about other police describe against biopiracy too indigenous knowledge. The novel amendment volition straight off over-ride the Cusco legal inaugural inward protecting traditional knowledge.

Not that I am real fascinated past times the Cusco initiative, which claims to hold out the starting fourth dimension inward the globe to enact a police describe outlawing biopiracy too protecting indigenous cognition at a regional marking (see the written report Peruvian portion outlaws biopiracy at http://scidev.net/en/news/peruvian-region-outlaws-biopiracy.html). Documenting biodiversity past times creating registers too and so developing protocols for providing access is non an effective legal too institutional framework to protect indigenous knowledge. I direct maintain seen such meaningless exercises beingness done at several other places, including India. It looks fine on newspaper but weak inward forcefulness (maybe, I am incorrect inward this case. I haven’t seen the Cusco police describe inward detail).

I recollect what is beingness real conveniently overlooked inward this entire debate on protecting traditional cognition is that biodiversity has a price. Unless nosotros starting fourth dimension honor a machinery to add together a cost tag to biodiversity too its related traditional knowledge, nosotros besides are failing to assistance the communities on whose behalf nosotros are fighting. At the same fourth dimension the Peruvian amendment sends a loud too clear message: developing countries must hurry upwards inward finding a legal machinery to protect biodiversity too traditional knowledge. Let us non hold off for WIPO or UPOV to enjoin us how. We should position our heads together to collectively gear upwards a tight legal framework.

Some of us inward Republic of Republic of India had lately taken an initiave on these lines. We direct maintain already completed the starting fourth dimension phase of defining the policy imperatives. In the mo round, nosotros volition aim at laying out the legal outlines. If you lot direct maintain whatever suggestions or advise, delight write to me.