Public Participation in context of Patent Laws in South Africa

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has only recently commenced its work in the fi eld of bioprospecting and biopiracy. A booklet as part of our Biosafety, Biopiracy and Biopolitics series titled, ?Bioprospecting, Biopiracy and Indigenous Knowledge: two case studies from the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa? by Koyama and Mayet, has been published. In addition, the ACB acting on the instructions of a community in the Eastern Cape Province, and supported by a Swiss based NGO, the Berne Declaration, has formally challenged two patents granted to German based Schwabe Pharmaceuticals on the grounds that the patents are illegal as they duplicate and misappropriate the traditional knowledge of communities in South Africa. The ACB is committed to the protection of South Africa's astonishingly rich biodiversity and traditional knowledge of its communities. Part of this interest is expressed by our interrogation of the regulations that promote the exploitation and privatisation of biodiversity and knowledge.

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