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Patenting of Research Results Related to Genetic Resources from Areas beyond National Jurisdiction: The Crossroads of the Law of the Sea and Intellectual Property Law



The conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction has attracted increasing attention from international fora over the last 15 years. A particular issue that is currently debated surrounds the regime for research activities related to biological resources from areas beyond national jurisdiction. This article considers the implications of patenting the research results of such activities in the context of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It concludes that policy clarification is needed in order to ensure that any regime for bioprospecting in areas beyond national jurisdiction provides incentives for researchers and prospectors to continue uncovering the mysteries of the deep oceans, including through the issuance of patents, while at the same time ensuring a fair sharing of the benefits of research results with all States.