Biopiracy In Developing Countries In The Context Of Globalization Law Essay


Throughout the human scientific discipline ‘globalization ‘ has become the explanatory construct of societal alteration[ 1 ].Globalization is the spread and intensification of economic, societal and cultural dealingss across international boundary lines. Globalization covers about everything ; it covers economic sciences, political relations, engineering, communicating and more.

Globalization resulted in turning importance of international organisations. These organisations are multinational in nature and exercising legal power non within a individual province, but within an international country consisting several provinces. Most of such organisations have emerged in the station 2nd universe war period.[ 2 ]One of such most outstanding organisation is the World Trade Organization ( WTO ) .

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Trade Related Intellectual Property Measures Agreement ( TRIPS )[ 3 ]was adopted by the WTO when the WTO was established on January 1 ; 1995.TRIPS understanding set forth international criterions of Intellectual Property. Intellectual belongings rights themselves are defined by the WTO as being “ the rights given to individuals over the creative activities of their ain heads. They normally give the Godhead an sole right over the usage of his/her creative activity for a certain period of clip ”[ 4 ].TRIPS created a planetary Intellectual Property frame work.[ 5 ]

Traditionally, rational belongings jurisprudence devising was a affair of domestic personal businesss without external intervention, However with increasing globalisation and the constitution of WTO, the control of national authoritiess over the acceptance and execution of domestic rational belongings Torahs has been greatly reduced. Indeed international legislation has begun to replace state based appraisals and domestic policy devising as the prevailing manner of rational belongings jurisprudence. These international instruments as a subdivision globalisation have created a struggle between the developed and developing states. The new IPR government, under the TRIPs understanding has generated complex and delicate issues in developing states like India related to public wellness, low-cost medical specialty, protection and publicity of resources related to traditional Knowledge ( TK ) , Geographic Indications ( GI ) and Bio- Diversity ( BD ) . The larceny of Bio-diversity termed as “ Bio buccaneering ” is a serious menace in the present scenario to the biologically rich developing states.

In this context, this paper attempts to analyze the impact of globalized Intellectual Property Regime on developing states and the specific ways in which it facilitated the procedure of Bio buccaneering. The footings Third World and South or West and North will be used herein to depict states that are frequently referred to as developing and developed.

Specifying Bio buccaneering

Bio plagiarists are defined by IDRC[ 6 ]as those who use the rational rights to legalize the sole ownership, appropriation and control of biological resources and cognition. The autochthonal peoples commission on Biotechnology describes the procedure as such, “ through the application of rational belongings jurisprudence, viz. patents, corporations can claim ownership over cistrons, merchandises and informations derived from familial resources, thereby enveloping familial resources which were developed by nature or are the consequence of centuries of cultivation by autochthonal husbandmans ” . In simple footings Bio buccaneering is a system wherein western Trans National Corporations ( TNCs ) efficaciously use the WTO and TRIPs to pirate the cognition of autochthonal community of the South.

Types of Bio buccaneering

Basically, there are two sectors in which biopiracy plays itself out most comprehensively. First, the pharmaceutical sector has been the most publicised forum for biopiracy, with some reasonably high profile allegations affecting the patenting for pharmaceutical intents, of southern biodiversity and frequently, the associated traditional cognition and applications of specific points of biodiversity. In virtually every instance there is no or deficient wage for the artless people who were the developers of the engineering. The 2nd, less high profile but damaging signifier of biodiversity has been in the country of agriculture and agricultural stuffs, peculiarly as they pertain to patents on workss, Plant breeder ‘s rights and control of the planetary seed stock. Some high profile biopiracy instances are stated below

Neem Tree

A Multi National Corporation named W.R. Grace & A ; Co. attained several U.S. and European patents for applications associating to the nim trees seed which is normally used for medicative, agricultural, pesticidal, prophylactic, decorative and dental applications. This led to controversy since the usage of nim tree is common in many developing states[ 7 ].

Basmati Rice

In 1997 the U.S house RiceTec attained a patent associating to seeds of basmati rice which is a common harvest grown in India and Pakistan[ 8 ].In response to India ‘s petition to redirect examination of the patent some of the claims associating to the basmati patent was withdrawn.[ 9 ]


Turmeric is normally used in India for cookery, cosmetics and medicative intents.The medicative usage of Curcuma longa is known to Indians since ages. In 1995, a U.S. patent was granted to two Indian national research workers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center for usage of Curcuma longa in lesion healing.[ 10 ]The patent was revoked after the intervention of The Indian Center for Scientific and Industrial Research inquiring for redirect examination of the turmeric patent. The same was revoked based on anterior art in ancient Sanskrit texts and in a 1953 article in the Journal of the Indian Medical Association. The Patent Trademark Office ( PTO ) so revoked the patent.

Similar instances are reported from assorted corners of the developing states specially instances affecting usage of African local cognition. These include the Hoodia cactus contention, rooibos tea, Enola bean etc.

Both of these signifiers of bio buccaneering mentioned above, leads to the existent merchandising back of the cognition and or patents to the artless people who were its developers. Further, there is a possibility peculiarly in bio buccaneering as it pertains to agricultural procedure and stuffs, that the application of patents will be extended plenty so as to restrict the agriculture patterns of autochthonal husbandmans, and even in the worst instances, impacting what they can cultivate and how. The procedure of bio buccaneering is facilitated by the globalized Intellectual Property Regime. In this context it is deserving to analyse the development of Globalized Intellectual Property Regime and its Impact on the Biodiversity in developing states.

Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights

It has become a normally accepted fact that there happened an information revolution transforming both society and economic system. The information society of the present is all set to replace modern industrial society and it is a direct consequence that information and cognition are going of import market trade goods, priced consequently. Owing to this transmutation, a major attending has been directed to the inquiry of ownership of the cognition resources.

The outgrowth of information society, where cognition industries are given extreme importance, forms the background to the modern-day arguments sing the Intellectual Property Rights. When cognition or information becomes subject to ownership, Intellectual Property Rights express ownership ‘s legal benefits including the right to bear down rent for usage, to have compensation for loss and cod payment transportation or sale. Intellectual Property is in simple footings the wages for the rational labor[ 11 ]. The protection of Intellectual Property ensures that those who can utilize knowledge objects expeditiously can procure an appropriate wages for such a usage. Intellectual Property Rights are the cardinal method to asseverate ownership over cognition resources which were antecedently portion of the societal reservoir. Some of the paradigmatic industries like, publication, music, computing machine package, etc. , are illustrations of single cognition workers and Godheads which benefitted significantly from the incidence of Intellectual Property in their creative activities.

The planetary development of Intellectual Property Rights is the consequence of peculiar histories and procedures. Intellectual Property Rights are therefore located at a peculiar articulation of historical forces, with the development of jurisprudence, the development of engineering and the development constructs of persons as cognition Godheads.

Though Intellectual Property has its beginnings far back as the 17th century, it is merely late that the wider arguments of belongings in cognition have become an issue of major concern.[ 12 ]The argument in the field of Intellectual Property Rights became outstanding since 1890 with a figure of great conventions regulating it, viz. , the Paris Convention for the protection of Industrial Property, the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic plants, the Universal Copyright Convention [ 1952 ] , and the Rome Convention [ 1961 ] for protection of performing artists, phonograms and airing organisations. The great conventions have ever been amended and received from clip to clip inorder to beef up the protection of Intellectual Property Rights. However, the procedure of a structured development in this respect met with a set – back owing to the differences between ; the industrialised states that founded the system through assorted conventions ; and the underdeveloped states. The developed states infact placed an offer before the developing states of emancipation from colonial regulation after the World War II, in return to the commitment to the system. The attempts therefore made by the industrialised states to realize the great conventions frequently happened to be regressive in spirit and pattern due to many grounds. The major development occurred in the interim was the force per unit area exerted by the industrialised states for a alteration of locale from the World Intellectual Property Organization ( WIPO ) – which administered the Paris and Berne Conventions and UNESCO – which administered the Universal Copyright Convention to the GATT ( General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ) , a forum in which the development states has less effectual function.

In 1970s the developed states pursued schemes for the acceptance of higher and more stiff criterions of Intellectual Property Rights ; an opposite demand was being made by the underdeveloped universe. The Intellectual Property proprietors in Europe, Japan and the United States along with certain major Multi-National Corporations came together and united on keeping higher international degrees of the protection of Intellectual Property Rights. The developed universe formed a alliance prosecuting for the inclusion of Intellectual Property Rights as an point for the dialogues of a comprehensive understanding during the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. They plead that trade in rational goods is disrupted due to inadequate Intellectual Property system in the development states and failed to protect the belongings rights of the Godheads, discoverers and hallmark proprietors in developing states. They fear of the instabilities and cut down in the portion of rational goods that industrialised states lawfully sell in developing states incurring immense losingss. The injury suffered by the rational belongings proprietors increases with imports of unauthorised viing goods from abroad which are imitative and pirated merchandises. The net income distribution will be extremely imbalanced as a consequence of this creates a clear cut deformation in just trade. The demand harmonizing to the developed states is hence stressed to extinguish the deformations to international trade by beef uping the universe ‘s rational belongings system to protect the rights of rational belongings rights holders. This led to a stringent run by the private and public entities in the US and other developed states for the constitution of cosmopolitan international rational belongings dealingss in which high criterions of protection would have cosmopolitan application. They are of the position that for the protection of innovations, hallmarks, literary and artistic plants, there must be a set of international minimal criterions under the GATT where the trade in rational goods is regulated.

The codification of behavior therefore established under the GATT, they say, would set up many-sided audience and difference colony processs. Developed states therefore in full accelerator went on with these aggressive stairss of set uping what they thought is a sound planetary Intellectual Property government. The proposed Intellectual Property government intended to acknowledge and implement criterions and norms that provide a footing for the effectual enforcement of international presentment, audience, surveillance and difference colony processs to protect Intellectual Property Rights. By this move, the developed states content that strong Intellectual Property Rights benefit all states irrespective of their present phase of development. A farther contention made by them is that acquisition of non – autochthonal engineerings by developing states other than by imports or licences normally contributes to an illicit economic loss to the engineering exporting states. However, the Uruguay unit of ammunition of Multilateral Trade Negotiations made possible for the developed states to force for higher criterions of Intellectual Property Rights with effectual difference colony steps. Therefore there is a important argument on the issues environing this globalisation of rational belongings governments, which warrants a closer scrutiny of some of the cardinal issues that the sweep of the WTO into the kingdom of rational belongings protection has on the universes lesser developed states.

For many, the argument began in earnest with the Uruguay unit of ammunition itself, and what the sensed impacts of it were for the development states. A big portion of the job can be seen in the initial Uruguay unit of ammunition dialogues, and the concerns expressed at that place by many states of the underdeveloped universe. Specifically in respect to a WTO mandated system of IPR. Much of their reserve came with continued trepidation as to the influence of the United States on the procedure itself, and the potency for them to exercise hegemonic force per unit area on instruments such as the WTO. However, after intense dialogues, the 8th unit of ammunition of the many-sided dialogues was launched at a particular ministerial session of the undertaking parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade at Punta del Este in September 1986 and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Rights ( TRIPS ) was one of its negotiating subjects. The Ministerial Declaration upheld the dialogues taking at developing a multilateral ; model of rules, regulations and subjects covering with international trade in imitative goods, taking into history work already undertaken in the GATT. The Declaration established a Trade Negotiations Committee ( TNC ) and the Group of Negotiations on Goods ( GNG ) coverage to the TNC, to transport out dialogues on trade in goods, including TRIPS. The TNC completed its midterm reappraisal of the Uruguay Round Negotiations in April 1989 with a papers covering with the issues to be covered in the go oning Uruguay Round dialogues on TRIPS. Throughout these old ages, the dialogues were in advancement and in October 1990, Canada proposed the puting up of a new Multilateral Trade Organization ( MTO ) integrating the consequences of the Uruguay Round. The MTO anyway was being later changed to World Trade Organization [ WTO ] stoping up the function of the WIPO as the appropriate forum as urged by the development states for lodging the consequences of TRIPS dialogues. Negotiations continued till 1994untill the TRIPS understanding was adopted at Marrakesh in April 1994.

WTO, presently with 150 member states all of whom the signers of about 30 many-sided understandings, sets the regulations for the planetary trading system and resolves differences between its member states. IPR are proprietary rights given as inducements to honor the rational input in this. It could be in the signifier of patent for an innovation, right of first publication over the look of an thought or a hallmark, acknowledging a distinguishable quality. Among different sorts of IPRs, patents are the limited monopoly granted to discoverers by and large for a period of 20 old ages for their inventions and creative activities.

Impact of Global IPR Regime

The developing states hold the position that foreign patents typically become vehicles of import monopolies. They complain that the transportation policies of foreign corporations as executed in restrictive licensing understandings and the strategic withholding of know – how, deprive the receiving states of control and over engineering at the terminal. In this respect, the function played by India stand foring the underdeveloped universe needs a particular reference. India, along with the other developing states ever opposed the GATTs authorization to cover with Intellectual Property affairs at all. India led the statement that specialized bureaus in which the development states carry more influence like WIPO and UNESCO retain sole legal power over these affairs. India is of the position that the phase of development in the society and the degree of income in the economic system are of import in affairs like this. A balance between the involvements of the manufacturers and consumers, i.e, between those who develop the scientific cognition or inventions and those who use the goods or services derived from it must be is critical in this facet.

India, as a outstanding voice in the underdeveloped universe, steadfastly holds the position that certain exclusions must be made in the domain of patentability since merely steps like that can assist developing states find a infinite in the Intellectual Property Rights government. Divergences on the demand every bit good as on the range of protection Intellectual Property Rights have ever existed between industrially developed states and every bit long as this job remain unresolved, the effectual execution of Intellectual Property Rights in a planetary degree is impossible. In the present scenario developing states needs easy entree to foreign engineering to catalyse its developmental procedure. It is because of the rigorous proficient hurdlings associated with transportation of engineering that appear to developing states like India which makes them stand for a less aggressive Intellectual Property System. It is argued, an aggressive Intellectual Property Regime besides sets aside the possibility of utilizing the alternate beginnings of import with a position to accommodate the local demand of the developing states.

Globalized IPR Regime and its Deductions on Biodiversity

The diverseness in the life organisms nowadays on the Earth, jointly in land, H2O and air is defined as biological diverseness or biodiversity. The new planetary IPR government established under the auspices of WTO is now extended to the biological resources of such sort beyond the conventional sphere of mechanical and chemical inventions[ 13 ]. Traditional Knowledge ( TK ) is defined as a organic structure of cognition that has been built by a group of people through coevalss by populating in close contact with nature. In footings of bio – diverseness, TK can be termed as the cognition, inventions and patterns of autochthonal and local communities incarnating traditional life styles relevant for the preservation and sustainable usage of BD. Traditional Knowledge which includes the cognition, inventions, and patterns of autochthonal and local communities incarnating traditional life styles relevant for the preservation and sustainable usage of biological diverseness and its protection has been brought in as a major affair of concern. Geographic Indications mentioning to the territorial nature of certain resources comes as another of import inclusion to the new IPR government. TK associated with many Fieldss such as, art and architecture, agribusiness, medical specialty, music, folklore forms another major country of concern of the IPR government. The many-sided understanding on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights ( TRIPS ) has been created for making the effects on the use of TK familial resources and BD of developing states. There is a loss of BD and commercialisation of bio resources and associated cognition doing great concern particularly when the IPRs are applied to claim monopoly. The dialogues at international and national degrees for the protection of TK and for the preservation of biological resources are now carried out on assorted issues of implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity ( CBD ) under the protections of the United Nations ( UN ) in 1992. The CBD recognizes the importance of autochthonal and local communities to the preservation and sustainable usage of biological diverseness through the usage and application in several ways of the TK that they possess.

However, there exists certain built-in contradiction between the CBD and TRIPS. While preservation, sustainable usage and just sharing of BD resources form the footing of CBD, TRIPS is said to advance the denationalization of familial resources through single rights.[ 14 ]


It is widely argued that infliction of the current IPR systems has facilitated the procedure of Biopiracy and will non be able to protect TK to the coveted degrees. TRIPS Agreement is besides said to be incompatible with the international human rights norms and hinges rights of the autochthonal people and the local communities over their natural resources and cognition associated with those resources. The bing IPR, in all its proprietary rights regime need non supply protection for the innovations that are based on the anterior bing cognition or the cognition held in the public sphere. The current IPR government is unequal to honor the inventions that have originated from an sole community which we refer here to as Traditional Knowledge. The grant of patents on inventions that are portion of the TK of most of the development and bio – diverse states without their concern have been doing a great concern. TK can non be alienated from the community by reassigning ownership to another individual or corporation because that cognition is portion of their distinguishable and corporate individuality and has no significance in the context out of that community. Due to the turning demand for the bio – merchandises in the recent decennaries, commercialisation of the TK associated with the bio resources has been on gait all over the universe. It is by and large conceived that this has adversely affected the supports of TK keeping societies and besides may do serious menaces to the biodiversity.

Equally far as India, a state rich in its biodiversity is concerned, preservation of biodiversity has merely late go a major concern of the policy shapers. India has already initiated certain steps excessively this respect. It includes ;

– The protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer ‘s Act, 2001

– The biological Diversity Act 2002 ; and

– The Patents Amendment Act, 2005

These legal commissariats, nevertheless, can better be operationalized, it is argued, utilizing the rules of sustainable development, that is, protection of biodiversity and the environment, traditional cognition, the rights of autochthonal and local communities, and of the public involvement. In the absence of appropriate policy and H2O tight statute law, local and autochthonal communities across the continents and particularly that of the developing states will be deprived of the benefits driven from the application of the TK associated with them. Most likely, the biggest drawback of the bing IPRs is that they were originally designed and developed for industrial innovations where inventions are viewed as single activities composed of separate identifiable constituents and thoughts. In contrast, most traditional inventions of local communities are a consequence of a corporate procedure of freely sharing thoughts, cognition and patterns, which can non be owned by an person or even a group. This factor is relevant in peculiar to local – degree direction and usage of BD[ 15 ]

The commissariats related to Access and Benefit Sharing that are focused in the CBD if invoked decently and made compatible with the TRIPS, the security concerns and challenges formed by the new IPR government could be good addressed.


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