• P. K. SatheeshkumarEmail author
  • Anoop Narayanan


In the nineteenth century, globalization due to industrial revolution made significant impact in the intra- and international exchange of knowledge and goods. Even though there were many constructive features, globalization propelled few detrimental events like monopolizing the economy by a few countries and biopiracy. In simple words, the term biopiracy refers to the unethical and illegal exploitation of one’s knowledge or resource without prior consent or benefit-sharing agreement by a third party through intellectual property right claims. The phenomenon is present in almost all commercial fields, especially in pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industry. In a general modus operandi, the information gained will be skilfully manipulated to a patent, through which the information will become the intellectual property of the pirate. Superficially, there may not be any similarity with the prior knowledge, but either the resource or the product will be monopolized by the biopirate, thus preventing the actual inventor from utilizing it. It was noted that the benefits were always accounted to the developed countries even though 90 % of the information was from the developing/underdeveloped nations. Heavy exploitation accompanied with the inevitable destruction of biodiversity forces the organizations like UN to enforce strict means to protect the universe. At present, there are 170 countries that agreed to the fair sharing of information and profit and to the sustainable utilization of natural resources.


Bioprospecting Traditional knowledge Benefit sharing Intellectual property Biodiversity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of MicrobiologyJawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research InstituteThiruvananthapuramIndia
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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