This paper aims to provide a comprehensive background and overview of key issues, debates and positions related to the international regulation and application of intellectual property rights over biological resources, including biotechnology, and the use and protection of the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities. It explores the linkages among biological diversity, rural livelihoods, biotechnology developments and intellectual property with specific view on the relationship between access to biological and genetic resources, agriculture systems, food security, and increased poverty levels around the world. The paper starts by outlining the background and evolution of intellectual property rights. It then provides two case studies on how intellectual property rights affect biodiversity and traditional knowledge. In the main part, the paper indulges on the international governance of biodiversity and intellecutal property rights, especially focussing on the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), the World Intellecutal Property Organization (WIPO), and the World Trade Organization with its Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellecutal Property Rights (TRIPS). However it also sheds light on the increasing impacts of bilateral agreements that govern intellectual property rights in conjunction with the plurilateral International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), and it analyses their relationship with the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the CBD. The paper finishes by sketching out ideas for a way forward.
Carolina Lasén Díaz:
Intellectual Property Rights and Biological Resources
An overview of key issues and current debates
Wuppertal Paper no. 151 (February 2005)