1Aditi Chaudhri, 2Dr. Meenu Sharma


The term "biopiracy" refers to the unauthorized exploitation of native knowledge about the natural world originating from native communities for financial gain without their permission, often with minimal compensation or recognition. Biopiracy arises from the utilization of indigenous peoples' traditional knowledge and genetic resources from underdeveloped countries by developed nations to obtain patents for their discoveries. This involves the improper patenting of traditional knowledge and genetic resources, particularly concerning plant and biotic materials, leading to acts of "theft or infringement" known as "biopiracy." For example, indigenous tribes find themselves unable to commercialize their technology when pharmaceutical companies patent medicinal plants derived from traditional knowledge without acknowledging the original creators or source. Various risks are associated with biopiracy, such as the appropriation of ownership over genetic materials or knowledge belonging to nations, communities, or regions; hindering the application of this knowledge in its home country or in alignment with customs; providing unfair profits to patent holders; and disrupting established systems due to unjust and unethical patents. Biopiracy is often intertwined with the process of "bioprospecting," which involves researching, acquiring, and evaluating biological diversity and indigenous knowledge to discover genetic and biochemical resources with commercial value. However, measures have been implemented to address unchecked bioprospecting and tackle issues related to biopiracy. The collection of biological specimens for scientific research, or "bioprospecting," can advance science in medical and other fields. Nevertheless, biopiracy, or the illegal gathering of biological materials, can have adverse effects, including violating a nation's sovereign rights, harming the economy of indigenous populations, and contributing to species extinction or decline. Maintaining ecological balance relies on preserving biodiversity and using resources responsibly. India has established institutional and legislative measures aligned with international standards to promote preservation, responsible use, and equitable sharing of benefits from the economic exploitation of biodiversity. Despite these efforts, incidents of biopiracy are increasing, with the primary beneficiaries often being the offenders rather than the rightful guardians of biological resources.To effectively tackle this issue, it is crucial to understand the legal and institutional frameworks governing biopiracy and biodiversity conservation in India. This study aims to examine common issues within these frameworks to bridge the gap between intended outcomes and current realities.

Keyword : Bioprospecting, Traditional Knowledge Protection, Theft of Genomic Content, Preservation of Environmental Balance, Utilization of Patents on Gene Resources, etc.

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May 25, 2024
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