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Bilateral agreements imposing TRIPS-plus intellectual property rights on biodiversity in developing countries

Bilateral agreements imposing TRIPS-plus intellectual property rights on biodiversity in developing countries

GRAIN ▪ update of August 2005

The WTO TRIPS Agreement (1994) says, in Article 27.3(b), that

Members may exclude from patentability plants and animals other than micro-organisms, and essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals other than non-biological and microbiological processes. However, Members shall provide for the protection of plant varieties either by patents or by an effective sui generis system or by any combination thereof.

A free trade agreement, bilateral investment treaty or similar accord is "TRIPS-plus" on this matter when it commits parties to:

- grant patents on plants, plant varieties and/or animals
- accede, or try to accede, to the UPOV Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (which is not mentioned in TRIPS)
- accede to the Budapest Treaty on the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purpose of Patent Protection (which is not mentioned in TRIPS)
- conform with the European Patent Convention, which allows the patenting of transgenic plants and animals (and is not mentioned in TRIPS)
- conform with "the highest international standards" of intellectual property protection (which do not exist)

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 source: GRAIN