Julie Micalizzi


"This paper...address[es] three potential cases of misappropriation concerning traditional knowledge and genetic resources of traditional groups in Africa and will explore how the Western patent system enabled,prevented, and corrected misappropriation in the context of these case studies. In all three studies, the patent system failed in misapplying the requirements of patentability and in granting patents for information that is per se unpatentable. However, the unpatentability of these specific instances of traditional knowledge also precludes the indigenous populations from claiming property rights over the information. Without an exclusionary property right, third parties are still able to commercialize the information. While such misappropriation might not be prohibited under patent law, the wrongful taking still is immoral. Though the patent system has evolved in preventing its inherent discrimination, e.g. recognizing public use outside the U.S. as a patent-defeating element, the patent system effectively fails to enable the indigenous groups to claim their own property right over the information or provide any adequate remedy for the traditional communities including recognition or compensation."