Arya Senapati, ‘Linking Intellectual Property and Biodiversity’

India garners a prolific division of biodiversity at species, genetic and ecosystem levels. At all these levels we also observe association of biodiversity with indigenous traditional knowledge which when subsumed under research and development initiatives undertaken by national, international and collaborative institutions, takes the form of Intellectual Property protected under multiple legal frameworks from local to global levels. Access to and benefit derived from India’s rich biodiversity makes it privy to stringent protection norms so as to prevent its depletion but commercial exploitation of bio-resources and incorporeal knowledge associated with it is concerning from a monopolistic point of view. May it be with patenting of genetically modified organisms, traditional medicines or protection of newly developed plant variety, all these aspects are afforded legal protection through multiple legislations so as to ensure sustainable usage and conservation of these resources. Bio-piracy and bioprospecting has also been legitimate concerns when it comes to attributing protection to Indian bio-resources. The paradox becomes imminent when these pieces of legislations which primarily serve the purpose of protection, also have loopholes pertaining to access to biodiversity which leads to its deterioration in the long term. This paper seeks to examine through doctrinal research, the appropriate intellectual property regime that can meticulously serve the purpose of protection while sustainably enjoying the benefits of bio-resources. It shall also put forth social inclusion of indigenous local communities and women into the folds of policy making through principles of ecofeminism and environmental justice, as these sections of the society are largely dependent on available biodiversity for their livelihood (which is a fundamental right as per the Indian Constitution). Various case studies based out of international as well as Indian jurisdictions are incorporated in the research to analyse the legal perspective. Lastly, it shall examine the interplay between climate change legislations and biodiversity legislations to ensure an interdisciplinary approach towards sustainable conservation.

Senapati, Arya, Linking Intellectual Property and Biodiversity (June 2, 2022).

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