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Intellectual Property and ABS

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Talking points - Round table on Access and Benefit Sharing - EMBRIC General Assembly

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Intellectual Property and ABS

  1. 1. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & ABS : WHAT CAN THE EMBRIC COMMUNITY DO? Dr Arul George Scaria Co-Director, Centre for Innovation, IP and Competition (CIIPC) Assistant Professor, National Law University, DelhiEMBRIC General Assembly, Heraklion, September 19, 2018
  2. 2. DILEMMA OF AN OPEN SCIENCE ADVOCATE FROM THE GLOBAL SOUTH Open Access v. ABS Regulations
  3. 3. (LEGAL) CONTEXT OF THE DISCUSSION Convention on Biological Diversity Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing Negotiations for a new international, legally binding instrument to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction?
  4. 4. WHY DO WE NEED A NEW INSTRUMENT/ APPROACH? Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unitedwaylowermainland/8771398278
  5. 5. THE OPTIMAL ABS SYSTEM Promotes research and innovation Provides legal certainty to all stake-holders Ensures fair, equitable, and sustainable sharing sharing of monetary and non-monetary benefits
  6. 6. TWO POTENTIAL APPROACHES Authorisation system Lessons from India? Notification system
  7. 7. IP AND ABS TRIPS Agreement – harmonization of IP laws  Patent laws – harmonization in terms of minimum duration of protection, scope of protection, etc.  Most jurisdictions allow patents relating to GR – considerable differences in practice
  8. 8. ASSOCIATION FOR MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY V. MYRIAD GENETICS, INC. (2013, US SUPREME COURT) “We hold that a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated.” “Finding the location of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes does not render the genes patent eligible “new . . . composition[s] of matter,” §101. Myriad’s patent descriptions highlight the problem with its claims: They detail the extensive process of discovery, but extensive effort alone is insufficient to satisfy §101’s demands” Complementary DNA (cDNA) - an artificial product that mirrors the coding parts of genes - is patent-eligible as it is not naturally occurring
  9. 9. EPO - DISAPPOINTING APPROACH Biological material which is isolated from its natural environment or produced by means of a technical process even if it previously occurred in nature Examination of a patent application or a patent for gene sequences or partial sequences - subject to the same criteria of patentability as in all other areas of technology (EU Dir. 98/44/EC, rec. 22) Industrial application of a sequence or partial sequence must be disclosed in the patent application https://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/guidelines/e/g_ii_5_2.htm
  10. 10. SOME DATA Balsiak et. al (2018), ‘Corporate control and global governance of marine genetic resources’ Methodology: 38 million records of genetic sequences associated with patents, from records of the patent division of GenBank from the National Center for Biotechnology Information - created a database of12,998 sequences extracted from 862 marine species >1600 sequences from 91 species associated with deep sea and hydrothermal vent systems - commercial interest in MGR from areas BNJ? 47% of all marine sequences - registered by one company - BASF Combined share of 220 other companies - 37% Universities and commercialization partners - 12% Actors located or headquartered in 10 countries - 98% of all patent sequences
  11. 11. NEED FOR PATENT REFORMS- SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS Are patents incentivising innovations in the area? Extent of exclusivity created on genetic resources? Are public databases enabling more patenting? Commercialization of patents Patenting for promoting openness? Important: Need to link the notification system with the current patent system
  12. 12. IP AND ABS Other relevant IP regimes - Impact of copyright regime Access to scientific literature Access to databases Software Impact of database protection rights Impact of trade secrets regime
  13. 13. POTENTIAL ROLE(S) OF EMBRICS COMMUNITY Should EMBRICS community get involved in the discussions on ABS & IP? How could the EMBRIC cluster foster open innovation? How could the EMBRIC cluster address ABS and IP? How could EMBRIC regional centres influence benefit-sharing for MGRs territories of origin?
  14. 14. POTENTIAL ROLE(S) OF EMBRICS COMMUNITY UNCLOS ILBI - Advocate for a notification system that enables track and trace - ex situ and in silico Advocate linking of IP system with the notification system Promote open access Avoiding embargos to the maximum extent possible Reducing fears about open access Promoting data citations Benefit sharing in the event of commercialisaiton Promote open (and collaborative) innovation with the global south Facilitating collaborations among researchers – need for policy changes in the global south also
  15. 15. Thank You! arul.scaria@nludelhi.ac.in @arulscaria

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