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Asking and Telling: Can “Disclosure of Origin” Requirements in Patent Applications Make a Difference?



This article seeks to evaluate, based on current practice at the national level, the justifications for “disclosure of origin” requirements in patent applications for inventions involving genetic resources. It provides a review of national legislation within Europe and the Americas, and describes the impact of these measures to date. The lessons learnt, relating to the feasibility and effectiveness of the legislation, are described. Options for the future development of this legislation are outlined, and suggestions are made as to how to move forward on this issue and, thus, to help facilitate fair and equitable resource use.