bio·​pi·​ra·​cy | \ ¦bī-(ˌ)ō-¦pī-rə-sē How to pronounce biopiracy (audio) \

Definition of biopiracy

: the unethical or unlawful appropriation or commercial exploitation of biological materials (such as medicinal plant extracts) that are native to a particular country or territory without providing fair financial compensation to the people or government of that country or territory The 60-year-old scientist was dwelling in semi-isolation, having … lost his job at a Brazilian research institute and been charged with a raft of offenses, including misusing government property and violating Brazil's biopiracy laws.— Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian, February 2008 Turmeric is a poster child for one of the most noted intellectual-property cases on biopiracy, which pitted an Indian government-supported research organization against a 1995 patent issued to the University of Mississippi for the use of the spice for wound healing.— Gary Stix, Scientific American, February 2007

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Other Words from biopiracy

biopirate \ ¦bī-​(ˌ)ō-​¦pī-​rət How to pronounce biopiracy (audio) \ noun, plural biopirates
Indigenous people are at the mercy of biopirates who steal their traditional knowledge of medicinal plants. — Stephen Leahy, New Scientist, 28 Feb. 2004

First Known Use of biopiracy

1993, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of biopiracy was in 1993

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Cite this Entry

“Biopiracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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