Barbados could be in for a legal battle if it pursues a patent for the local Barbados Blackbelly Sheep. This is being reported by the Barbados online newspaper, Barbadostoday.
The article reports in part as follows:
An American group, the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep Association International (BBSAI) says they patented the name first and any attempt by Barbados to do the same would be a breach of copyright law.
Gregory Hession, a Massachusetts-based lawyer for the BBSAI, stated in a letter addressed to the registrar of the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office here, that any such patent would "improperly lay claim to the long-held, pre-existing property rights of the current owners of Barbados Blackbelly Sheep."
It further stated:
"We have become aware that Barbados Sheep Farmers Inc. (BSF), has filed or intends to file an application to patent the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep. We respectfully suggest that such a move would be in complete contradiction to Barbados patent law and to the property rights of current sheep owners around the world.
"Under Section 11 (1)(e) of the Patent Act, animals are specifically not patentable. Barbados Blackbelly sheep are being carefully bred in the United States, and are found in Canada, Mexico and throughout the Caribbean. They have been in the general worldwide population for about 100 years. Under Section 7 of the Patent Act, only a novel invention or innovation may be patented.- Barbadostoday
According to Wikipedia, "it is likely the Barbados Blackbelly has African ancestry, there seems to be clear evidence that the breed, as seen today, was developed by the people on the island from sheep brought by ships fairly early in the period after Europeans first arrived. This breed is raised primarily for meat."
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