April 29, 2009
Equity and Commercial Rights for Genetic Resources
District of Columbia Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section / International Committee
the Environmental Law Institute
Who owns the rights to the genetic history of the rain forest? How will scientists gain access to the next miracle? In recent years, access to genetic rights has become an important issue for transactions, intellectual property rights, and equity claims. Attempts to secure genetic resources now often includes extended interactions with the host country and its indigenous and local populations, particularly regarding historic uses of these resources. Thus, lawyers working for clients in biomedical or agricultural industries or for educational interests frequently encounter many new challenges while trying to negotiate access to genetic resources. Moreover, the issue is being discussed in a large number of international fora, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Food and Agriculture International Treaty for Plant and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and the TRIPS discussions within the Doha Round negotiations of the World Trade Organization For example, a UN mandated international regime for genetic resources under the Convention on Biological Diversity is expected to be finalized in 2010.
This discussion focused on the evolving understanding of genetic resources, intellectual property facets of genetic resources access and usage, the ongoing and interrelated discussions in the various international fora, and specific arrangements, such as material transfer agreements, that pertain to genetic resource access. The insights offered by panelists and the issues encompassed in the discussion have direct pertinence to domestic and international legal understandings, especially, but not exclusively, with regard to intellectual property, commercial, and equitable rights.
Richard J. Blaustein, (Moderator)
Susan Finston, Esquire, Executive Director of the Access and Benefit Sharing Alliance
Michael Gollin, Esquire, Venable LLP, and founder of Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors (PIIPA), a pro bono service for developing country clients
Dr. David Newman, Chief, Natural Products Branch, National Cancer Institute
Dr. Leonard Hirsch, International Programs, Smithsonian Institution
David Hegwood, Esquire, former USDA representative to the FAO
David Newman, PowerPoint
David Hegwood, PowerPoint
Susan Finston, PowerPoint
Michael Gollin, PowerPoint