Brasil flagDrug developers often search for new leads in the biodiversity often found in developing countries. Often, a new theraputic or genetically engineered product is developed and patented.

Depending upon your view, this is either the free market at play in creating new and better products (so-called bioprospecting) or exploitation of developing nations (so-called biopiracy).

However, a lot of tension has arisen from such patents, such as the Enola patent derived from Mexican traditional crop mayocoba bean and the patent on Ayahuasca, a sacred plant. These disputes show that some genetic engineering exploitation and patents based on certain species may be offensive to certain indigenous people’s spiritual, religious, or cultural traditions.

Our Associates at Dannemann Siemsen, a law firm with offices in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Brasília, have alerted us to a new proposed legislative bill that has recently published by the Brazilian Government. Currently, access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as well as benefit sharing in Brazil are regulated by Provisional Measure 2.186-16 of August 23, 2001.

The new bill, which is open to public consultation until February 28, 2008, is available in Portuguese at the website here. Although the proposed bill is somewhat long, some of its highlights are set forth below:

Genetic Resources And By-Products

The proposed bill makes it clear that access and benefit sharing rules will also cover activities involving the by-products of genetic resources and not only involving information of genetic origin, as provided for in the current Provisional Measure.

Records and Databases

The proposed bill provides for a number of databases and most of the activities involving access to genetic resources and traditional knowledge must be recorded.

No Need of Access Authorizations in Some Cases, in Special Research Without Commercial Purpose

Access to genetic resource for scientific and/or technological research without commercial purposes in some cases will not need previous authorization.

Benefit Sharing Agreement

According to article 86 of the proposed bill, a benefit sharing agreement may be executed after the access, provided that certain conditions are met.

Federal Sales/Royalty Tax

The proposed bill creates a sales/royalty tax (CIDE) directed to governmental funds aimed at financing R&D, supporting traditional communities, conserving biodiversity and benefit sharing.

Agricultural Biodiversity

A new category of biodiversity is created and the corresponding access and benefit sharing are regulated under more flexible rules.

Prison and Administrative Penalties

A number of penalties, such as fines and product seizure, are provided for in case of irregular access to genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Prison terms are defined, e.g., in case of the illegal remittance abroad of biological material.

Patent Disclosure

The corresponding access license must be attached to patent applications covering subject-matter obtained via access to genetic resources and to its by-products and associated traditional knowledge.

Please feel free to contact Dannemann Siemsen should you require further details on the current rules and on the provisional bill concerning biodiversity access and benefit sharing.

See also:

India Fights Back Against Biopiracy

Bioprospecting Discussed at the UN

Article on the Convention on Biological Diversity (“CBD”), the first international agreement aiming at the protection of biodiversity, sustainable use of biological resources and the sharing of benefits of its exploitation.

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3 Comments

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    […] Indigenous and local communities, Intellectual Property, News alerts, Traditional knowledge   Brazilian Government Published Bill on Bioprospecting/Biopiracy Patent Baristas – 15 February […]

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    Protecting Nature’s bounty will provide dividends in the future and is worth protecting now to ensure the health of the coming generations of the human race. I hope Brazil does enact protective legislation for both its natural pharaceuticals and indigenous peoples, as the knowledge of the how to use the products from the forests lies with them. Thank you for your coverage of this issue.

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    […] Brazilian Government Published Bill on Bioprospecting/Biopiracy […]