Side Event Organised by ICTSD, ABS Governance Programme (UNU-IAS, IDDRI, CPDR) and Chatham House

Description | Programme | Documents| Participants

8th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-8), Curitiba, Brazil

28th March 2006, 18h30-20h15, Room B1.25


Proposals for a disclosure requirement in patent applications are viewed as one mechanism of ensuring legal and transparent access to genetic resources and a fair and equitable benefit sharing process. Disclosure requirements could require patent applications relating to biological materials or traditional knowledge to provide for:

  • Source and country of origin (or legal source) of the resource and the TK used in the invention;
  • Evidence of prior informed consent (PIC) from relevant authorities.
  • Evidence of fair and equitable benefit sharing as under the national regime;

Such a requirement seeks to ensure:

  • A solution to ensure coherence between the CBD and the TRIPS Agreements;
  • Prevention of misappropriation of genetic resources and associated TK;
  • Increase in transparency and credibility of the patent and ABS systems;
  • An enhancement in the quality of patent applications;
  • Sustainable and fair flow of genetic resources.

There is an interplay of different policy issues and thereby a need to consolidate the existing legal and policy regimes on these subjects. Incorporation of disclosure requirements would entail amendments to some of the fundamental International Intellectual Property Law instruments such as the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Treaty (TRIPS) under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) under the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to incorporate the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). A new dimension was added to this debate with proposals to incorporate disclosure mechanisms in a new international regime on access and benefit sharing.

Debates are ongoing in these various fora on the potential benefits, efficacy and effects of access to genetic material and innovation activities of such a mechanism. The Eight Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will also address this issue amongst others. This side event will seek to:

  • Assess the discussions so far on the Disclosure proposals in different fora, notably the WTO and WIPO, so as to support the discussions on ABS at COP 8 and subsequent meetings of the Working Group on ABS;
  • Identify the gaps in the international governance of this area and opportunities for future work;
  • Explore the concerns of various interest groups regarding misappropriation of genetic recourses as well as potential obstacle to innovation in the biotechnological field.

© ICTSD 2004 - Last Update: 05-Oct-2009