On December 6, 2012, members of the European Parliament Development Committee voted to adopt a report that condemned, and proposed solutions to, “biopiracy”–the exploitation of indigenous knowledge or genetic resources of a developing country without permission or sharing in benefits from that use. See Press Release, Biopiracy: protecting genetic resources in developing countries (Dec. 6, 2012).
The report, “On development aspects of intellectual property rights on genetic resources: the impact on poverty reduction in developing countries” (2012/2135(INI)), was authored by French Green MEP Catherine Grèze. Among other things, the report opines that there is a “danger of assessing traditional knowledge only from a mercantile point of view,” and notes “that the existing IPR framework does not fit such a heterogeneous group as traditional knowledge holders.” For this reason, the report states that there is a “need to define a sui generis international IPR regime that preserves the diversity of interest of local communities and reflects customary law.” The report expresses the view that when the EU implements the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, it “should grant traditional knowledge at least the same level of protection as genetic resources.”
In the report, Ms. Grèze proposes that the EU should introduce a new legal framework for granting patents, which would require applicants to:
(a) disclose the source and origin of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge (ATK) used in inventions; (b) provide evidence of prior informed consent (PIC) from competent authorities in the provider country and; (c) provide evidence of fair end equitable benefit sharing, to be certified in an international certificate of origin.
The report also says that the EU should aid developing countries in establishing the institutions required to benefit from genetic resources and traditional knowledge.