Global Biopiracy: Patents, Plants and Indigenous Knowledge


Global Biopiracy: Patents, Plants and Indigenous Knowledge


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Available in the Osgoode Hall Law School Library


Legal control and ownership of plants and traditional knowledge of the uses of plants (TKUP) is a vexing issue. The phenomenon of appropriation of plants and TKUP, otherwise known as biopiracy, thrives in a cultural milieu where non-Western forms of knowledge are systemically marginalized and devalued as "folk knowledge" or characterized as inferior. Global Biopiracy rethinks the role of international law and legal concepts, the Western-based, Eurocentric patent systems of the world, and international agricultural research institutions as they affect legal ownership and control of plants and TKUP.

The analysis is cast in various contexts and examined at multiple levels. The first deals with the Eurocentric character of the patent system, international law, and institutions. The second involves the cultural and economic dichotomy between the industrialized Western world and the westernizing, developing world. The third level of analysis considers the phenomenal loss of human cultures and plant diversity. Exhaustively researched and eloquently argued, Global Biopiracy sheds new light on a contentious topic.

The impact of intellectual property law on indigenous peoples and informal or traditional innovations is a field of study that currently includes only a handful of scholars. Biopiracy will be an invaluable resource for students, teachers, and legal practitioners.



Publication Date



UBC Press


Vancouver, British Columbia


Patents (International law); Plants, Cultivated--Patents; Traditional ecological knowledge; Plant biotechnology--Patents; Eurocentrism; Biodiversity


Bibliographic Citation
Mgbeoji, Ikechi. Global Biopiracy: Patents, Plants and Indigenous Knowledge. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press, 2006. Print.

Global Biopiracy: Patents, Plants and Indigenous Knowledge