Den rettslige situasjonen for MARBANK og andre marine biobanker i Norge ('The Legal Status for MARBANK and Other Marine Biobanks in Norway')

FNI Report 6/2009. Lysaker, FNI, 2009, 50 p. In Norwegian.

This study examines the field of marine biobanks – Norway’s Marbank in particular – in terms of current legislation and practice, as well as de lege ferenda analyses. The focus is on four main issues: 1) material intended for the bank;  2) collector’s rights concerning the biological material; 3) recommendations as to activities to be undertaken by the biobank while the material is there; 4) legal questions arising from withdrawal of the material from the biobank. In order to create legal predictability for commercial users of a marine biobank, it is important establish clear routines for the collection of material, especially in terms of: a) any rights that may pertain to the material in question; and b) whether the material has been obtained legally. Moreover, clarification of the latter point is legally required in order to comply with the requirement concerning information in §60 of the Law on Natural Diversity (naturmangfoldloven). The biobank will need to make clear which – if any – rights those depositing material in the biobank are entitled to. From the perspective of the authorities it is especially important to regulate what will happen to a collection if the activity of the biobank should be discontinued. As long as the biobank remains operative, the main question concerns responsibility for ensuring that the material is not lost or damaged. One strong motivating reason for establishing a biobank is the desire to make marine biological material available for all types of research and development. Having simple routines and regulations for access to the collection should make matters easier for users. Further, there should be routines concerning obligatory accompanying information on source country, land of origin, and whether the material has been legally obtained, for genetic material collected in areas outside Norwegian jurisdiction. Finally, it should be borne in mind that predictability and accountability are central factors for commerce and industry.