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Genetic Resources

Breaking News: WIPO Member States Adopt Historic New Treaty on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge.

Genetic and other biological resources constitute unique subject matter for IP protection ever since IP systems began to protect innovation in the modern life sciences, as early as the mid1970s. They include, for example, microorganisms, plant varieties, animal breeds, genetic sequences, nucleotide and amino acid sequence information, traits, molecular events, plasmids, and vectors.

GRs and related life science innovation and information cut across a number of branches of intellectual property (IP) law and practice, including patents, trade secrets, copyright, technological protection measures as well as other branches of the law. The IP issues associated with GRs therefore need to be addressed in a customized, cross-cutting and practical manner.

Rice field in Madagascar (Photo: UN Photo/Lucien Rajaonina)

In considering IP issues associated with GRs, WIPO’s work complements the frameworks for access and benefit-sharing provided by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Nagoya Protocol, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework (PIP) Framework of the World Health Organization and other specialized access and benefit-sharing framework.

GR resources