Concern about patents

Protocols are well and good, as long as the people in charge agree to follow them. Witness the disappearance of the two people in Brazil - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/14/brazil-indigenous-agency-staff-strike-over-response-to-disappearance-of-bruno-pereira
Even Canada, which formally signed on to the UNDRIP accord only pays lip service to it. Profit motivated companies basically ignore it.

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Au contraire. I remember discovering a hybrid patent was back when I was new to iNat & trying to ID another user’s observation:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/7296893

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You can patent plants. You can even patent the use of a species as an ornamental plant! (I find that absurd.)

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The other side of that story is expressed by Sri Lankan naturalist Rohan Pethiyagoda, who was recently awarded the Linnean Medal. He said,

My beef with the biopiracy argument is not that biopiracy cannot happen, it is entirely conceivable that someone will look in a rainforest somewhere and find a gene of huge commercial value, that is conceivable. But in order to prevent that guy from finding that gene, we have shut down all of biological research in Sri Lanka… you have to get a permit to do any kind of biological research in this country. And there is a huge problem because they believe that people are out to pirate biological resources; as a result of that, to get a permit is near impossible and I’m going to return to this subject. The biopiracy hysteria set up by the environmental lobby has caused huge harm to research we need for biodiversity conservation.

Basically, the way Sri Lanka is going about preventing biopiracy also ends up preventing the kind of research needed to do conservation.
His full opinion piece, cowritten with several others, can be read here: https://naturalhistorysl.blogspot.com/2016/10/sri-lankan-legislation-has-frozen-vital.html

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Reading further into this, it seems that there is international inconsistency and that you are right for the USA. I was coming at the issue from a European perspective where even artificially bred plant varieties are not eligible for patenting (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20190912STO60951/parliament-says-no-to-patenting-plants-bred-naturally), although there is such a thing as Community Plant Variety Right which gives some protections that are equivalent to a patent.

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I believe no one wants to stop the finding of that gene. However some of the commercial benefit should flow back to the place where the gene was found. If someone develops a medication for blood pressure from a plant traditionally used by an Indigenous group, they should see some of the profits. By in large, the profits from a chance discovery end up staying in rich nations. I don’t think this is “hysteria”, nor should it preclude the research the authors talk about. Either they should agree not to commercialise anything they find which is economically useful, or an agreement made to ensure the Indigenous people see some of the benefits.
In Canada, it is not bioprospecting which is the major concern, but the extraction of resources. Not only do the Indigenous inhabitants of the land see few benefits, but they also have to live with the waste that these industries produce. A little ways east of me there was pulp mill on the English-Wabigoon river system that contaminated the river - and the fish living there - with mercury. The Indigenous people who lived in the area used those fish, developed mercury poisoning and can no longer fish. Decades later, neither the company nor the government has bothered to clean up the river. Why the English–Wabigoon river system is still polluted by mercury 57 years after its contamination (facetsjournal.com)

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Plant patent last 20 years. Wild plants cannot be patented. Usually a cultivar of a plant can be patented. and home growers will have to be careful not to propagate a patented variety and sell it commercially. No one will know if done on a scale like exchange cuttings with friends and relatives. If plant is grown from seeds, the genes remixing may make the new seedling different from the parent species and therefore I think the patent do not apply to seeds. It seems there are seed patents in some parts of the world , while no patent allowed in other countries.
Drug companies will extracts compounds or chemicals from plants and if a substance is deem useful for commercial purposes, they may patent the drug or compound for exclusive exploitation. There is a time limit too, as some drugs can become generic status after some years.
The scenario of drug companies using information on plants and later lead to the species use become illegal is possible. Let’s say, you had photographed a rare plant, and some researchers later made a discovery that the plant is very useful. This lead to a mad rush to find as much quantity as possible. and this makes the plant become so rare that it is classified under CITES Appendix I and II, and laws are enacted to prevent collection. This is a real problem of poachers using technology on Geolocation. Rhino horns or tiger bones are still harvested illegally. Poachers don’t care.
However, if you are just documenting everyday common plants and creatures, it will not result in anything significant.