Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Intellectual property rights on genetic resources

Delivered in Plenary - 15th January 2013

Mr President

The report on the development aspects of intellectual property rights and genetic resources overlaps with a key component of the MDG, namely the global protection and preservation of biodiversity, which is being lost at an alarming rate. In this context, biopiracy, which is the misappropriation of indigenous medicinal plant knowledge, has also emerged as a concern for developing countries.

In principle I support effective measures combating biopiracy, not least concerning its definition. I also support assistance to developing countries that are engaged in legal and institutional capacity-building to improve the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, but it would be premature to regulate this sector with a binding instrument in the absence of clear definitions. We have particular reservations about the idea of mandatory informed consent.

We should also be aware of the ongoing WIPO negotiations and ensure that any resulting agreement is compatible with the CBD Nagoya Protocol. Ensuring protection of intellectual property rights requires clarity and the enforcement of current legislation, not necessarily new European Union law.