UNCTAD: IPRs in Health, Research, Cosmetics, Meet Access and Benefit Sharing
IP Watch, 29 April 2013

UNCTAD Handbook: IP and the CBD Protocol on Genetic Resources
IP Watch, 30 April 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The interactions between intellectual property and international rules of global access and benefit-sharing (ABS) were explored recently by an expert group meeting, convened by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 16-17 April 2013. Several panels held under the Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on the Development Dimensions of Intellectual Property: Biological Diversity and Access and Benefit Sharing shed light on IP and ABS in particular areas, such as natural ingredients used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and pandemic influenza preparedness. Among many speakers, Johanna von Braun, attorney-at-law for Natural Justice, presented cases of misappropriation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, and challenges to prevent that misappropriation. She advised that ABS contracts should be well drafted to ensure certainty on what happens to the resources when they leave the country, and said that local communities need capacity building in order to be aware of their rights and be able to negotiate.

The meeting also served to provide feedback on a draft handbook on the Nagoya Protocol on ABS and the international intellectual property system, to be published by UNCTAD later this year. The draft handbook addresses the sources of international law, disclosure of origin, the patentability of life forms, limitations and exceptions to IP laws, positive protection of traditional knowledge, costs and benefits of geographical indications, and private contract law.

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