Mandatory disclosure of the origin of the genetic resources
in patent application is a part of my ITTI project. It aims to comply with
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Article 15 which governs access of
genetic resources, and thus to promote access and benefit sharing (ABS).
However, mandatory disclosure policy is very controversial around the world and
many counties have different opinion on this issue.

In general, many developing countries, which are normally
genetic resources owners, favour the mandatory disclosure policy. In contrast,
many developed countries are against this approach saying the disadvantages
overweigh its benefits. There are also some countries hold a neutral attitude.

According to current conditions of global patent system
structure and genetic resources relevant database, it appears that the
mandatory disclosure policy isn’t very realistic and it can hardly be enforced.
First, there isn’t a comprehensive genetic resources database to track down and
to find if the disclosure of origin is correct and accurate. Second, the policy
will certainly increase the workload of patent offices around the world to
track down the genetic resources. Moreover, mandatory disclosure requirement as
such cannot promote ABS, without the support from other relevant policies such
as prior consent and fair contractual relation based system.

Currently, only a few countries around the world apply the mandatory
disclosure requirement in their patent system, and China is one of them. The 3rd
revision of Patent Law of China (the new patent law) has become into effect on
October 1, 2009. And article 5 and 26 of the new patent law govern the genetic
resources and mandate its disclosure. Because it’s only been 1 month since the
new regulation became into effect, there isn’t too much information about the enforcement
and detailed situation of it. ITTI will continue to monitor the situation
regarding the new patent law of China.