As Negotiators Launch Talks On Biodiversity, Industry Requests IP Protection 15/10/2010 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This week, global attention will be focussed on hopes to find solutions to give the world a better chance to reduce the loss of biodiversity and reach agreement on an international instrument ensuring benefits are being shared. Intellectual Property Watch will be in Nagoya, Japan to report on the negotiations. The 10th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) will take place in Nagoya from 18-29 October. Two intense weeks during which member states of the convention will have to agree on the next 2011-2020 strategic plan for the CBD, and finalise a binding international instrument on access and benefit sharing (ABS) of the commercial benefits derived from biological resources, and the prevention of biopiracy. The CBD Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization has been discussed in a working group, called the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-Sharing. For months, delegates have been trying to find acceptable compromises but after the last meeting in Montreal in September, the text was still heavily bracketed (IPW, Biodiversity/Genetic Resources/Biotech, 28 September 2010). A last effort at presenting the COP 10 with a cleaner version of the draft protocol will be undertaken tomorrow during the Resumed Ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing. The protocol is supposed to be adopted at COP 10. A number of areas of dissension remained after the last meeting. Main disagreements came from the scope of the protocol, in particular the potential extension to genetic resources acquired before the entry into force of the protocol, access to genetic resources, the sharing of pathogens, compliance measures, and derivatives. Industry Warns Against Weak IP Rights On 14 October, about 20 biotechnology and biopharmaceutical associations from Asia, Europe and the Americas wrote a joint comment [pdf] to the draft protocol. The biotechnology industry is supportive of the convention’s objective and provides innovative solutions in the medical sector and the agricultural field, said the comment. However, the biotechnology industry needs incentives, such as a “particularly strong and predictable patent protection.” “Certain proposals made regarding intellectual property raise great concerns, and if adopted, would hinder, rather than promote, the access to, and transfer of, technology to developing countries – as well as hinder the generation of shared benefits in furtherance of the objectives to the protocol,” the letter said. Of particular concern to the biotech industry are patent disclosure requirements and that intellectual property offices could be asked to become mandatory “check points.” Some countries have insisted that checkpoints would be necessary to ensure compliance of the protocol. Civil society has also voiced concern about the ability of local communities to protect themselves from biopiracy if strong compliance measures are not put into place. According to Alexander Merle, a primary indigenous negotiators on the protocol since the first meeting of the working group in 2001, the negotiating leverage of indigenous peoples might be slipping (IPW, Inside Views, 8 October 2010). Indigenous and local communities are allowed to propose text, but it goes into the documents only if it is supported by some countries, a CBD source said. That makes the parties’ support necessary for any proposal. The indigenous group walked away from the negotiation table during the two last meetings as a sign of protest before coming back after some arrangements were found to answer their requests, according to Merle. “Without a strong ABS protocol ensuring compliance with national ABS laws and the convention, the whole COP 10 will fail,” said François Meienberg from the Berne Declaration. “As in 1992, when the Convention was agreed, we need another global compromise to conclude the negotiations in Nagoya. Only this way, an ambitious strategic plan, a solid funding and an ABS protocol which stops biopiracy is possible,” he said. The CBD entered into force on 29 December 1993 and has three main objectives: The conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of the components of biological diversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources, according to the CBD website. The United States is not part of the CBD. The 2010 target to reach significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity by 2010 has not been attained, according to most sources, including the CBD. Other issues discussed at the CBD will be biofuels, South-South cooperation, incentives measures, climate change, traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, and finance. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."As Negotiators Launch Talks On Biodiversity, Industry Requests IP Protection" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.