Nanotech Database

Article Title:
New Enclosures: Why Civil Society and Governments Need to Look Beyond Life Patenting.

Shand, Hope

Journal Information:
CR: The New Centennial Review
Vol. 3, Num. 2


Shand says: "this article examines a variety of New Enclosures and illustrates how they will supplement or replace intellectual property as a means of strengthening corporate dominance over new technologies, as well as how they threaten democracy and dissent. It also examines the emerging field of nanotechnology, and the need for civil society to broaden current advocacy campaigns beyond opposition to life patenting."

Enclosures are alternative mechanisms to secure corporate control over biological products and processes and other emerging technologies. New enclosures allow companies to avoid the unpredictability of intellectual property laws --in the technical area and especially in the political arena. Rather, they seek biological monopolies such as genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs) for crops and livestock and also through remote sensing tools like satellites. Legal contracts are also in play with new clauses like "right of venue" controlling which court jurisdiction can be used or dictation of farming conditions. Also employed are patent monopolies and mergers of intellectual property. Nanotechnology, partaking of the aims and employed in the development of biotechnology, will most likely freely borrow from the enclosure techniques developed for biotechnology. "Civil societies and governments need to understand and evaluate New Enclosures because they threaten to erode the rights of farmers and workers, undermine national sovereignty, and promote corporate consolidation."