As soon as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has been created and the Nagoya Protocol was under discussion, parallel discussions were and still are ongoing on how patent policies can reflect the Objectives of the CBD.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) works with its members to find consensus on the formulation of a potential treaty protecting genetic resources from misappropriation. A meeting took place to explore the role of WIPO and the intellectual property system in preventing such misappropriation.
During this meeting, a representative of the South Center an intergovernmental organisation, Carlos Correa, nicely challenged the usual justifications of “developed countries” IP offices about disclosure of key information in the protecting application (e.g. patent, plant variety, etc.).
Having a disclosure requirements would create more administrative burden
He disagree, explaining that the IP office will need to make the relevant received information publicly available and no more than that.
Benefit-sharing would be conditional to the grant of a patent.
He explains that benefit-sharing is not linked to patent only. Benefit-sharing may take place in the absence of patents, in the case where genetic resources and their derivatives are used without patent protection, which would mean that multiple users would have to meet access and benefit-sharing obligations.
For example, you could have read in this blog the examples of India, South Africa, France where the national regulation considered patenting as a commercial act after the research therefore, enforce the benefit-sharing obligations. But if the user do R&D for commercial purposes then it will have benefit-sharing obligations with or without IP use.
This disclosure requirement will be more than welcome in order for once and for all aligned the obligations that users are starting to have through National regulations on the Nagoya Protocol and the IP protection they use on their work. Nowadays, this is not aligned so users are playing around finding ways of not respecting some good practices.
Read more about this meeting here.
We really welcome this work and we hope that this treaty will come up one day and guarantee better consistencies between all these tools use by Genetic Resources users.