Tag Archive: Intellectual Property Rights

Pirating African heritage: the pillaging continues

The cases of suspected biopiracy are summarized and discussed in a few paragraphs. Patent numbers and/or application numbers are provided for each, as well as contact information for the entity or entities that have lodged the patent claims. Using the provided data, the full patent (application) text can be accessed online at patent websites, such as the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), or the European Patent Office (EPO).8 Although patent application documents can be accessed, outside of the US, EU, and a few other countries, accurate national level patent status data can usually only be obtained by contacting the national patent office.

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Read the press release here.

Critical overview of South Africa’s Bioprospecting laws

In this booklet, we provide an overview of the core provisions of the legislative framework governing bioprospecting, access and benefit sharing in South Africa. In particular, we highlight the lack of opportunity for public participation by civil society in the bioprospecting permitting process, problems with accessing information, issues relating to the restricted appeal process, and the apparent conflict between the bioprospecting laws and apartheid provincial legislation. These themes are discussed against the backdrop of the ACB’s experiences as an NGO seeking to engage in bioprospecting permitting processes on its own behalf or on behalf of affected communities.

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MAS: Key Issues for Africa. Author: William Stafford

‘Marker Assisted Selection’ uses molecular markers as tools in a plant or animal breeding programme to select for important agricultural traits, such as nutritional quality, drought tolerance, disease and pest resistance.

It has been suggested that MAS has the potential to increase food production and help initiate a new Green Revolution in Africa. A much celebrated MAS and Green Revolution programme is the ‘New Rice for Africa‘, (NERICA) that was developed by the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA). Globally, most of the MAS programmes are focused on cereals; particularly maize, rice, wheat and barley.

Monsanto who has 23% of the global seed market and 9% of the global agrochemical pesticide market, is rapidly adopting and developing MAS for their breeding programmes. MAS produced crop plants are generally not subject to biosafety regulation, which means Agricultural-biotechnology companies can avoid biosafety costs and more rapidly, bring their products to the market. Agricultural-biotechnology companies stand to gain the greatest economic benefits because MAS methods and products can be protected by patents, enabling greater market domination and control over agricultural systems by these companies.

There are several biosafety risks associated with MAS that are of concern. Products developed by MAS

Geraniums Stop that Cough – Pelargonium Factsheet

Rural community of South Africa stands up against pelargonium-patents and biopiracy.

The Alice community, living in the Eastern Cape area of South Africa, in close collaboration with the African Center for Biosafety and supported by the Berne Declaration (Switzerland) , the Church Development Service (EED) and ?Kein Patent auf Leben? (Germany), has challenged two European patents granted to the German company Schwabe Pharmaceuticals. Both patents are based on two pelargonium species that occur in the wild in South Africa. The Patents are seen as an illegitimate and illegal monopolisation of a genetic resource from Southern Africa and the traditional knowledge of the communities in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

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Rural Community of SA stand up against Pelargonium Patents & Biopiracy

Rural community of South Africa stands up against pelargonium-patentsand biopiracy. The Alice community, living in the Eastern Cape area of South Africa, in close collaboration with the African Center for Biosafety and supported by the Berne Declaration (Switzerland) , the Church Development Service (EED) and ?Kein Patent auf Leben? (Germany), has challenged two European patents granted to the German company Schwabe Pharmaceuticals. Both patents are based on two pelargonium species that occur in the wild in South Africa. The Patents are seen as an illegitimate and illegal monopolisation of a genetic resource from Southern Africa and the traditional knowledge of the communities in the Ea stern Cape Province of South Africa.

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“Knowledge not for Sale” – A Briefing Paper by the African Centre for Biosafety

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) is a non-profi t, activist NGO based in South Africa, specialising in promoting biosafety and challenging biopiracy, agrofuels and the commodification of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge.

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Marine Bioprospecting – key challenges and the situation in South Africa

Marine bioprospecting, also known as marine natural products research, is concerned with the exploration and exploitation of the rich biological and chemical diversity found in marine organisms which inhabit the oceans. Marine bioprospecting is a relatively new endeavour, having its origins in the late 1940’s,8 when Werner Bergman ‘discovered’ arabinoside sugar in marine sponges, a substance which does not occur on land.9,10 This discovery led directly to the development of several anti-viral (ara-A) and anti-cancer (ara-C) compounds.11 Marine bioprospecting gained momentum in earnest during the 1970’s and 1980’s due to improved deep sea collection methods and analyses.12,13 Until then, marine bioprospecting was limited to places of high biodiversity and easy accessibility,such as the tropical seas and coral reefs.14

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Bioprospecting, Biopiracy and Indigenous Knowledge: Two Case Studies from the Eastern Cape, SA

By Misaki M Koyama and Mariam Mayet

Publisher: African Centre for Biosafety (ISBN: 978-0-620-39674-5
Year: 2007, No of pages: 60

New Book Release

This book provides a critical overview of South Africa’s legal regime with a view to investigating its ability to stem the tide of biopiracy involving indigenous knowledge. Against this backdrop, two case studies are discussed from the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. In this province, the vast majority of inhabitants rely on traditional medicine for their health care and cultural requirements.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Misaki M Koyama is a research and campaigner with the African Centre for Biosafety. Mariam Mayet is the founder and Director of the ACB.

Contents

Introduction
Section One: Background and overview of key issues
Section Two: Legal Framework in South Africa: details and shortcomings
Section Three: Case Study 1: Indigenous knowledge and the Pelargonium patents
Case Study 2: Bioprospecting and research institutions

Conclusion

Annexure A: Applicable international treaties and key national South African legislation affecting Indigenous knowledge and bioprospecting

Annexure B: The Schwabe Group

References

Price: R50 per copy, including postage.