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Possible structure of the appropriation of traditional knowledge through the patent rights system

By Vera Abogados - 05/07/2022

Marcos Vinício Chein Feres, a professor at the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Brazil, published a study which intends to analyze the possible structure of the appropriation of traditional knowledge through the patent rights system. The article is the first of an ongoing project that looks to know whether the international legislation on patents and biodiversity may be contributing to the process of appropriating traditional knowledge and natural genetic resources associated with biodiversity from the Amazon region.

The paper intends to demonstrate a relationship between the main international legal texts and the process of appropriating traditional knowledge and natural genetic resources, based on the idea that inventions deriving from any sort of traditional knowledge or utilizing any natural genetic resources keep their novel distinction, once they have been processed through the logic of conventional science (laboratory experiments, for example).

The research stems from specific cases concerning the use of traditional knowledge identified on a field trip to Manaus in the state of Amazonas, Brazil. Patent applications concerning the cases of Phyllomedusa bicolor (Kampô frog) were collected taking into account ethnographic reports concerning the uses of traditional knowledge in the Amazon region as well as the use of natural genetic resources from Brazilian biodiversity.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) database, the patentscope, was searched and explored to locate the patent applications taking into consideration if they had been granted.

Known as the giant leaf frog, bicolor tree-frog, giant monkey frog, or waxy-monkey tree-frog, Phyllomedusa bicolor is a species of leaf frog that can be found in the Amazon basin of Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru.

The study concludes that international regulations on patent rights and biodiversity may be contributing to the process of appropriating traditional knowledge and natural genetic resources , taking into account the vagueness of the normative terms as well as the empirical analysis of the patentscope database.

By Vera Abogados - 05/07/2022
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VERA ABOGADOS ASOCIADOS S.A.-, is a Colombian law firm with specialized lawyers, Founded more than 40 years ago, by Jorge E. Vera Vargas, Doctor in Law and Political Sciences of the La Gran Colombia University in Bogota D.C., Colombia. At present, with principal offices in the city of Bogota D.C., and offices in the cities of Cali, Medellin, Barranquilla, at national level, and at an international level in Ecuador and Panama.

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