by: Michelangelo Temmerman
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Biotechnology is at the heart of heated debates about ethics, safety, economic
development, and about the control over the biological materials and
technologies used. The latter, grossly called biodiversity issues relating to
the application of intellectual property, has been the subject of a wealth of
literature. Yet, the situation of animal genetic resources specifically has
only marginally been addressed so far. Many books and articles address
‘biotechnology and agriculture’, but have only plants and seeds in mind.
Case-law and specific regulation is equally scarce. Exacerbated by the
so-called ‘erosion of animal genetic resources’, climate change, the
globalization of the market-place, and a strong concentration of markets,
animal genetic resources however demand specific analysis and adjustments in
intellectual property law. The decoupling of rights over animal genetic
resources as an abstract concept, from those over the concrete animals is a
fact today. The application of patents in this context became a full-fledged
part of the management of animal genetic resources. This monograph analyzes
against this background the impact of the patent system on ownership
traditions in agriculture, on animal welfare, and on biodiversity. It looks at
how those factors in turn are likely to affect the shape of patent law, and
how they should affect it. The author hereby focuses on important specific
issues arising, including the following:
the underlying elements deciding on the shape of regulation – innovation,
economic development, agriculture, human rights, animal welfare, the
conservation of resources, and equal trading conditions;
the continuing applicability of trademarks, geographical indications,
copyright, and trade secrets;
patentability rules and exclusions;
the extension of patent rights over progeny;
the meaning of ‘essentially biotechnological processes’;
the legal definitions of ‘morality’ and ‘ordre public’ in the context of
animal welfare; and
the future of international patent law in the context of global governance
With detailed investigation of how three major jurisdictions – the European
Union, the United States, and Canada – have regulated the matter, the book
highlights unresolved issues in the laws dealing with animal genetic
resources. How do the usual principles of patent law affect ownership over
animals in agriculture? To what extent is patent law in accordance with
neighbouring fields of regulation, with relation to animal welfare? How can
intellectual property be used to alter, stimulate, or tackle developments in
the realm of the conservation and promotion of biodiversity? Questions like
these are asked, checked upon the more technical country studies; and then
used to put to test the adequacy of international patent regulation in a final
chapter. As a deeply informed overview of the arguments and discussion points,
this is the only book of its kind. It links general discussions to the often
technical and complicated patent regulations, in the specific context of
animal genetic resources. It is sure to bring lawyers in the field closer to
the policy debates; and decision makers closer to the precise idiosyncrasies
of patent law.
List of Abbreviations.
Chapter 1 Rights to AnGR.
Chapter 2 Patenting AnGR: A Comparison between the United States,
Europe and Canada.
Chapter 3 Patenting AnGR: Impact on Ownership Traditions in Agriculture.
Chapter 4 Patenting AnGR: Issues of Animal Welfare.
Chapter 5 AnGR, Intellectual Property and Biodiversity: The Positive
Chapter 6 Patenting AnGR Animal Genetic Resources and International
Table of Cases.
Table of Legislation.