Intellectual Property Rights of Databases
Jorge Soberon Mainero
jsoberon at MIRANDA.ECOLOGIA.UNAM.MX
Wed Dec 4 19:50:40 CST 1996
If you remember, a few kilobytes ago there were a number of contributions
about proposed modifications to the current regime of protection of
databases of raw data (like herbarium labels).
Just to maintain this portion of the taxasphere informed, during the
last Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
(Buenos Aires, first 2 weeks of november) the Mexican delegation
presented a proposal for the parties to consider, requesting that the
governments discuss the issue thoroughly before aproving the draft treaty
in this December meeting of WIPO in Geneva.
There was a lot of concern among many delegations (including the USA,
which was aware of the problem but, unfortunately, does not have a vote
in the Biodiversity Convention. When are you guys going to ratify it?).
Many Latin American countries pressed for aproval of the resolution, but
there was strong opposition from some European Union countries and
finally a washed down version was adopted by the parties:
Draft Decision UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.18 Number 2
"Notes that the possible establishment of a new international
intellectual property rights regime for databases could have implications
for scientific and technical cooperation related to conservation and
sustainable use of biological diversity, and calls for an open and
transparent evaluation of these implications"
The above language is not "vinculating", i.e., does not force the
countries to do anything. However it did raise the awareness level and
possibly may have an effect on the discussions that began in Geneva two
Personally I believe this to be a very important issue with implications
far beyond what we probably realize.
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