The Sorcerer II Expedition: Intellectual Property and Biodiscovery
Macquarie Journal of International and Comparative Law, 2009, Vol. 6, 147-187.
41 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2008 Last revised: 4 Oct 2016
Date Written: 2009
This article considers the significance of a leading marine biodiscovery initiative. In March 2004, Dr. J. Craig Venter announced the official launch of the Sorcerer II Expedition, a scientific expedition of discovery, which would survey marine and terrestrial microbial populations. The Expedition has the potential to uncover tens of thousands of new microbial species and tens of millions of new genes. Venter has disavowed that the Sorcerer II Expedition has any commercial ambitions. However, some have viewed the Sorcerer II Expedition with suspicion. Various civil society groups have accused the Expedition of engaging in 'biopiracy'. This article investigates the Convention on Biological Diversity 1992 and other relevant international treaties, various national and regional regimes to govern access to genetic resources, and benefit-sharing agreements. It considers the intersection of intellectual property law, contract law, environmental law, and international law in this field. This article provides a blueprint for a nationally consistent scheme for access to genetic resources, and a model for future international developments.
Keywords: Access to Genetic Resources, Benefit-Sharing, Bioprospecting, Biodiscovery, Biopiracy, Intellectual Property, Contract Law, Environmental Law, Rio Convention on Biological Diversity, Synthetic Biology, Environment, Climate Change
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation