strategy

Preventing monopolization of gene patents of organisms

Synonyms:
Preventing exclusive patenting of plant and animal genetic resources
Context:
In the 1970s, NGOs started alerting people to a double disaster. They warned that genetic erosion in agriculture was gaining tremendous ground, especially in the South's cradles of crop biodiversity, and that the world's seed supply was falling under the control of a few agrochemical corporations.
Implementation:
In 1998 India's agriculture minister banned the import of seeds containing the terminator gene because of the potential harm to Indian agriculture. The Terminator patent is one of the key issues that prompted the Dutch to renew objections to the Patent Directive that was passed by the European Parliament earlier this year.

Farmers have been marching in the streets of Delhi to denounce a US patent on their basmati rice; developing countries are taking TNCs to court for theft of indigenous medicinal knowledge; Green Revolution scientists are up in arms about seeds they are responsible for keeping public being privatized by Australian companies.

Claim:
Multinational agrochemical corporations and other parties are trying to legally monopolize gene patents of plants, animals, and genes. In succeeding, they would be allowed to patent and own valuable life forms, often found with the assistance of indigenous people in their own forests, not only possibly denying them financial compensation, but potentially forcing them to pay royalties on products derived from these resources. It is widely agreed that the world's biodiversity should be treated as common heritage, and not the property of the select few. No one has or should have the right to exclusively own genetic material or whole organisms for themselves. These resources are sacred and should be shared by all.

2. Biopiracy and patenting of indigenous knowledge is a double theft because first it allows theft of creativity and innovation, and secondly, the exclusive rights established by patents on stolen knowledge steal economic options of everyday survival on the basis of our indigenous biodiversity and indigenous knowledge. Overtime, the patents can be used to create monopolies and make everyday products highly priced Intellectual property rights (IPR) grant inventors monopolies in exchange for their socially valuable innovations, a privilege that the U.S. interprets as a corporate right to privatize plants, animals, and other forms of life. Agrochemical-pharmaceutical companies, calling themselves the "life industry," successfully crafted global IPR through the Uruguay Round of GATT trade negotiations. Monopoly control of plants is contributing to the destruction of food security and public interest research, as well as to the loss of biological diversity and ecological health.

Subjects:
Resources
Biology
Genetics
Plants
Animals
Conditions of trade
Prevention
Deprivation
Patents, copyright
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies