Beyond Patents: Collective Intellectual Property Strategies for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Communities’ Livestock, Crop and Microbial/Genetic Common Heritage

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"The proliferation of intellectual property rights has lead to increasing restrictions and commercial pressures on access to and use of biological resources. These changes present a formidable challenge for the commons-based sharing practices for biological resources on a global scale amongst scientists, breeders, farming communities and between ex-situ collections of microbial genetic material, in spite of the opportunities for global and regional pooling of living materials made possible by new technological breakthroughs. This paper presents a comparative analysis of three cases of global genetic-resource commons, in the fields of microbial, food crop and animal genetic resources, with the aim to contribute to the understanding of the challenges faced and to analyze possible institutional solutions. The analysis in this paper shows that the use of standard agreements for collective management of intellectual property and an initial investment in the creation of social networks and strong social norms, biological resource commons can be a desirable and effective solution to manage and provide essential knowledge assets that contribute to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity with major benefits for local livelihoods both in developing and industrialized countries."



genetic resources, crops, livestock, conservation, intellectual property rights, globalization