Global Status and Trends in Intellectual Property Claims: Microorganisms
42 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2009
Date Written: November 22, 2004
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: Suggested Citation