Common Pools in Aquaculture: Exploring Patent Law, ABS and Sui Generis Options

In Kamau, Evanson Chege and Gerd Winter (eds), Common Pools of Genetic Resources - Equity and Innovation in International Biodiversity Law. London, Routledge, 2013, pp. 168-190.

This article concerns developing “common pool-thinking” for biotechnology in the aquaculture sector. “Common pool” is, in this context, understood as a legal system for creating a common resources base for research and development. Such a common pool must be discussed in the context of existing legal regimes of exclusivity for innovation in the aquaculture sector, as a number of existing norms are binding in their regulation of the matter. The task is to contribute to a better understanding of how law could promote marine-based innovation. The overall objective is to contribute to the understanding of how international law could contribute to the objectives of the CBD (conservation, sustainable use, benefit sharing and innovation based on aquatic genetic resources). The task is to draw lessons from emerging legal systems pertaining to genetic resources and innovation in aquaculture while exploring their interaction with a common pool approach to explore whether and how this could be a useful model for law and fish farming and breeding. Common pools of genetic resources raise several questions, challenges, even problems or obstacles, both regarding the pool and the commonness of the resources which need to be discussed if any hope of fruitfulness of approaching genetic resources and innovation from this perspective is to be had.

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