Companies in food and cosmetics sector discuss patents and biodiversity in a seminar organized by the Union for Ethical BioTrade
Patents in relation to natural ingredients create opportunities and risks for companies in the food and cosmetics industry. Patents are useful tools to promote innovation in natural products, creating benefits that can be shared along the supply chain. At the same time, patenting practices do not always reflect the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). What is the link between patents and access and benefit sharing? What are the concerns behind claims of biopiracy? How should patenting practices fit within the ethical sourcing of biodiversity? These were some of the questions discussed in this initial seminar on "Access and Benefit Sharing, Patents and Natural Ingredients," organized by the Union for Ethical BioTrade on October 22, 2009, in Geneva. The seminar featured speakers with renowned expertise on issues at the interface of patents and biodiversity. Participants included representatives from legal, research and development and other departments of several companies in the food and cosmetics sector.