Ongoing Protection Of Biocultural Heritage

Author:Ms Marta García
Profession:Moeller IP Advisors

The Peruvian Anti-Biopiracy Commission, chaired by the local PTO (INDECOPI) has recently identified a case of illegal access to Peruvian genetic resources involving a patent application filed before the Chinese PTO (SIPO) related to a method for grafting and propagating Plukenetia huayllabambana.

The Plukenetia huayllabambana is a plant endemic to the Peruvian province of Rodríguez de Mendoza, within the Amazonian Region.

The Anti-Biopiracy Commission tracks and identifies biopiracy cases, i.e. unauthorized and uncompensated access and use of biological resources or traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples by third parties, and opposes patent applications and/or challenges granted patents abroad involving biopiracy.

In the Plukenetia huayllabambana case, the Anti-Biopiracy Commission concluded that the patent application constituted a biopiracy case after verifying that the applicant did not have an access contract signed by the competent national authority. After sending a formal complaint to the patent owner, the commission is now preparing the necessary documents to initiate an opposition procedure.

The Peruvian Anti-Biopiracy Commission recently reported the favorable resolution of 15 biopiracy cases related patent requests abroad that involved genetic resources from Peru.

As an example, six patents in Japan, Korea and Europe involving maca root (a plant native to the Peruvian Andean provinces of Junín and Cerro de Pasco) for the manufacture of medicines for the treatment of osteoporosis, sleeping disorders, and testosterone deficiency increase, were invalidated. Other cases related to yacón, pasuchaca (plants native to the Andes used to treat diabetes), sachainchi and camucamu (plants native to the Amazon rainforest areas of Iquitos, Tarapoto and Pucallpa) were either abandoned by the applicants or rejected by the respective patent offices...

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