Publication Details

Antons, C. 2010, 'Sui generis protection for plant varieties and traditional knowledge in biodiversity and agriculture: the international framework and national approaches in the Philippines and India', Indian Journal of Law and Technology, vol. 6, pp. 89-139.


The so-called 'biotechnology clause' of Article 27.3(b) of the WTO-TRIPS Agreement requires from member states protection for plant mrieties either tlia the patent system or via an 'effective sui generis system' or by a combination of the two. Many developing countries prefer forms of sui generis protection, which allow them to include exceptions and protection measures for traditional agricultural practices and the traditional knowledge of farmers and local communities. However, 'traditional knowledge' remains a mguely defined term. Its extension to biodit1ersity has trrought a diffusion of the pret1iously clearer link between protected subject matter, intellectual property and potential beneficiaries. The Philippine legislation attempts a 'bottom-up' approach focusing on the holistic perceptions of indigenous communities, whereas national economic interests thus far receive pl10rity in India's more centralist approach. Administratitie decentralisation, recognition of CLLstomaly rights, disclosure requirements, registers of landraces and geographical indications are discussed as additional measures, but their implementation is ec/ually challenging. The article concludes that many of the concepts remain contested and that got1ernments have to balance the new commercial incentitles with the biodit1ersity considerations that led to their introduction, so that the system can be made sufficiently attractitle for both knowledge holders and potential users of the knowledge.

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Indian Journal of Law and Technology