Disclosure of Origin in the Patents Regime: A Call to Shift towards Meaningful Engagement on Māori Terms
In September 2018, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) recommended that New Zealand introduce a "disclosure of origin" requirement for patent applicants. Disclosure of origin was also recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal in 2011. If applicants were required to disclose the origin of genetic resources or traditional knowledge used, interested iwi and hapū groups would more easily be able to monitor the use of their resources and oppose patents being granted, and decide whether to challenge or oppose the grant. It would also allow more patent applications to be identified as relating to Māori interests and subsequently be referred to the Patents Māori Advisory Committee (PMAC) in the examination process. This article examines the potential for a disclosure of origin requirement in New Zealand, assessing appropriate design elements and objectives.
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