Global Status and Trends in Intellectual Property Claims: Microorganisms

42 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2009

See all articles by Paul D. Oldham

Paul D. Oldham

ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen)

Date Written: November 22, 2004

Abstract

The paper provides a review and preliminary assessment of the implications of intellectual property claims in relation to microorganisms for the development of an international regime on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity. The paper is divided into two sections. Section 1 considers the public policy implications of intellectual property claims over microorganisms which form part of access and benefit-sharing agreements between protected area authorities and public or private bodies. This focuses on the example of an agreement between the United States National Park Service and Diversa Inc (now Verenium) in relation to bioprospecting in Yellowstone National Park. This agreement is considered in light of the history of patent controversies and court action over Taq DNA polymerase arising from Thermus aquaticus. Section 2 presents the outcomes of research on global trends in intellectual property claims over microorganisms and highlights the way in which the TRIPS agreement inclusion of microorganisms as patentable subject matter has been extended to the classification of stem cell material as a microorganism.

Keywords: bioprospecting, convention on biological diversity, international regime on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing, biodiversity, taq dna, yellowstone, stem cells

JEL Classification: K00, K32, Q28, K33

Suggested Citation

Oldham, Paul D., Global Status and Trends in Intellectual Property Claims: Microorganisms (November 22, 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1331510 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1331510

Paul D. Oldham (Contact Author)

ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) ( email )

Institute for Advanced Study
County South
Lancaster, Lancashire LA1 4YD
Great Britain

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