Embedding intellectual property rights in the UN Marine Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Process

Impact: Societal

Description of impact

Innovative multi-disciplinary research by Professor Abbe Brown (Law) in collaboration with Professor Marcel Jaspars (Chemistry) has embedded consideration of intellectual property (IP) rights in the negotiation process of an emerging new United Nations (UN) legal agreement, regarding the two thirds of the ocean, which is beyond the control of states.

Problems can arise in relation to marine genetic resources (MGR) and technology transfer. Prior to the involvement of Brown and Jaspars, negotiators had limited understanding of the challenges and opportunities that different approaches to IP could generate to delivering provisions in the agreement relating to MGR and to technology transfer. Brown and Jaspars have raised awareness through active engagement including a policy brief and contributing to commentary on the draft agreement. They have increased understanding amongst negotiators and wider publics of what is a fundamental issue in the management of the world’s oceans.

Outcomes to Date / Future Developments

The combined expertise, activity and influence of Brown and Jaspars regarding IP and science has changed the negotiating landscape of the emerging BBNJ agreement and has led to IP being embedded in the BBNJ process and new approaches to it being put forward. This is a landmark change in that IP has now become a stable, if still contested, part of the dialogue.
Impact statusImpact Completed (Open)
Impact date20132020
Category of impactSocietal