The Lake Bogoia Extremophile : A Case Study

TitleThe Lake Bogoia Extremophile : A Case Study
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHeuer, S
Corporate AuthorsIowa Sta te University,
Pagination19 p.
Date Published2008
PublisherIowa State University
KeywordsBIOLOGY , business , ENVIRONMENTAL , ENVIRONMENTAL ethics , Environmental Sciences , Intellectual , Intellectual Property and Patents , SOCIAL , Social Justice
AbstractIn the early 1990's a PhD student studied the organisms in Kenya's Lake Bogoria and classified and named the ones she found. Sometime after she had collected them, a biotechnology firm called Genencor International sold an enzyme it had extracted from one of the organisms found in Lake Bogoria—a special type called an “extremophile”—to its business partner, Procter & Gamble. Procter & Gamble ultimately used this enzyme to develop an extremely successful line of Tide bleach that was used to stonewash denim. While Genencor adamantly defends its “biodiversity expeditions”, critics of its actions are concerned about the effect that these projects have on the autonomy of indigenous peoples and governments. In 2004, the Kenyan Wildlife Society (KWS) in conjunction with the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) announced their intention to bring an international lawsuit against Genencor for its violation of intellectual property rights. The lawsuit never came to fruition and the issue remains an unresolved and debated topic to this day. The case study includes a role-play exercise which attempts to stimulate the proceedings of the international court case of the Kenyan Wildlife Service versus Genencor International had it come to realization. The class has been broken into four groups and you have been assigned to one of the following. The four groups will represent interest groups; the first two are the parties directly involved and the other two have relevant interest in the outcome of the case.
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