India joined the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1994 to regulate access to the country’s genetic resources and ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising from it.
India is one of the 12 mega-biodiverse countries of the world. Realising the importance of genetic resources (GR), in 1994 it joined the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to regulate access to the country’s GR and ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising from it.
The CBD provides discretionary powers to member countries to implement an effective legal framework and, inter alia, requires interested parties to obtain “prior informed consent” (PIC) from government authorities or traditional knowledge-holders of the country to which the GR belongs. Article 8(j) and Article 15.5 of CBD particularly mandate that PIC of the community be taken before GR or knowledge related to it is used in any manner.
To enforce and implement the objectives of CBD, India enacted the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (BDA). Section 6 of this statute reads: “No person shall apply for any intellectual property right, by whatever name called, in or outside India for any invention based on any research or information on biological resource obtained from India without obtaining the previous approval of the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) before making such application”.
CBD, PIC, genetics, India Patents Act, IPO