Is Policy Towards Intellectual Property Rights Addressing the Real Problems? The Case of Unauthorized Appropriation of Genetic Resources
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Volume 16, Number 6, 2003 , pp. 605-616(12)
Abstract:Unauthorized appropriation of genetic resources has been described by the term ``biopiracy.'' Technological breakthroughs including biotechnological applications can increase considerably the instrumental value of biodiversity as new products or products with new properties can be made. Nevertheless, it appears that, in most cases, the properties in question were already known to the indigenous people and used for centuries. The analysis discusses both from an economic and an ethical perspective whether it is just that traditional knowledge is rewarded. As the conflict intensifies over questions of ownership and control of biological materials, Intellectual Property Rights are at the center of controversies. The current global system governing biotechnology has largely been shaped by Western expectations and valuations and consequently has drawn severe criticism. The critics doubt both the stability and sustainability of the current patent system and argue for restructuring through benefit-sharing systems in order to address some of the existing inequalities. With the help of a case study (US patent no. 5,751 on ayahuasca) the theoretical notion of biopiracy is applied to real problems.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Department of Agricultural Economics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P.O. Box 225, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2: Department of Agricultural Economics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P.O. Box 225, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece
Publication date: 2003-01-01