What is difference between biopatent and biopiracy?

Dear student

Biopatent is also known as patent of life as these are patent on living things. It is defined as patent on an invention in the field of biology or related fields such as biotechnology that by laws allows gives an extreme control to patent holder to exclude others from making, using,selling or importing the protected invention for a period of over 20 years..

Biopiracy refers to unethical appropriation of  naturally occurring genetic or biochemical material especially by obtaining patents that restricts its future use while failing to pay a fair compensation to the community from which it originates.


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Bioprospecting is the process of discovery and commercialization of new products based on biological resources. Despite indigenous knowledge being intuitively helpful, bioprospecting has only recently begun to incorporate such knowledge in focusing screening efforts for bioactive compounds. Bioprospecting may involve biopiracy, the exploitative appropriation of indigenous forms of knowledge by commercial actors, and also includes the search for previously unknown compounds in organisms that have never been used in traditional medicine before.

Biopiracy describes a practice in which indigenous knowledge of nature, originating with indigenous peoples, is used by others for profit, without permission from and with little or no compensation or recognition to the indigenous people themselves. For example, when bioprospectors draw on indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants which is later patented by medical companies without recognizing the fact that the knowledge is not new, or invented by the patenter, and depriving the indigenous community to the rights to commercial exploitation of the technology that they themselves had developed. Critics of this practice, such as Greenpeace,claim these practices contribute to inequality between developing countries rich in biodiversity, and developed countries hosting companies that engage in 'biopiracy
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