The Journal of World Intellectual Property, Vol 14, No 5, 2011, pp. 383-402
In October 2010, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising From Their Utilization (NP) was adopted at the Conference of the Parties (COP-10) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The NP establishes rules on measures to be taken by user countries in the context of access and benefit sharing (ABS). The future success of ABS as embedded in CBD and the Nagoya Protocol depends on their implementation at a national level. The binding rules of CBD and NP have in common that they need to be transformed into national legal and political contexts to establish a functional system for ABS. This article addresses measures that are needed in the international regime to secure adoption and implementation of user-country measures which are compatible with provider-country legislation. It analyses one current example of user-country legislation: the recently adopted Norwegian legislation, for the purpose of finding options for and obstacles to implementing obligations in the CBD and the NP in national law and in actual practice. One part of the ABS challenge is that obligations in the CBD and the NP apply to states, whereas the actual users of genetic resources are mostly private or public enterprises: companies, universities or other institutions. Despite showing a promising start, far from all challenges of a functional ABS system are solved.