Law below and beyond frontiers: marine genetic diversity, IP and information

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paperpeer-review


A new future lies in the Blue Economy, with the potential of the oceans’ raw materials - marine genetic resources - which scientific expertise can transform into invaluable products (such as pharmaceuticals) to benefit society, is only beginning to be realized (Royal Society 2017). 862 marine species have been identified, with 12998 genetic sequences associated with patents. BASF
registered 47% of all marine sequences included in gene patents (Blasiak 2018)
Key questions include the owning and benefitting from the results of innovation, products and restrictions of the activity of others in the research and commercial fields, and the elision between the two. This raises questions of private power. There is a further issue that as 64% of the surface of the oceans is beyond the control of states, questions result as to which states benefits from product development and where responsibilities lie in the removal and sharing of MGR.
A new international legally-binding instrument is being negotiated regarding marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction, under the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea, building on General Assembly resolutions from 2004. An important issue identified is whether marine genetic resources should be seen as free to all to take and own (the freedom of the high seas approach), as being part of the common heritage of humankind, and whether a different approach should apply (Thamisetty 2018)
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2019
EventBILETA 2019: Back to the futures: law without frontiers? - Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Apr 201918 Apr 2019


ConferenceBILETA 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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