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Opinion: Food Security Needs Sound IP

To meet the agricultural demands of the growing population, appropriate technology transfer incentives are a must.

By | July 20, 2011

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, LARS PLOUGMANN

By 2050, the global population is projected to increase by as much as 35 percent to nearly 10 billion. With much of that growth occurring in the world's developing nations, enormous pressure will be placed on expanding agricultural production capacity, intensifying food as a national security issue in those regions. Increased pressure on the agricultural enterprise will also come from emerging needs to sustainably produce feedstock for conversion into renewable biofuels.

Meeting this grand challenge will require sustainable agricultural techniques and technologies—such as new crop varieties and cropping systems with high-yield potential, reduced need for chemical inputs, and enhanced pest, disease, and stress tolerance—and these technologies must be developed into inexpensive tools accessible to even the world's poorest populations who need them most.

To help promote the transfer of such technologies from the industrialized countries where they are most likely to be developed, the protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) must be improved. IPRs play a key role in creating a supportive environment to spur innovation and foster technological development. However, its significance to agriculture has been the center of endless and polarized debates worldwide. Some argue that the expansion of IPR in agriculture helps promote research investments and innovation leading to significant economic activity and development in the sector. Others find that IPR elevates inequality across and within countries by mostly benefiting large private companies and rich countries at the expense of small companies and poor countries.

Our recent studies indicate that while the mechanisms for IPR establishment exist in the developing world, they are under-utilized and sometimes poorly understood, thus, rendering them either ineffective or counter-productive. Based on these results, we suggest that IPR is indeed critical to the agricultural development needed to meet the demands of a growing population, but that policy and regulation changes are necessary to efficiently promote such development. Hence, we suggest several paths to support the sensible introduction and diffusion of new agricultural practices and technologies.

Our first suggestion is to encourage enforcement of national laws that comply with TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights).  The TRIPS Agreement mandates strong patent protections for nearly all inventions across country boundaries, and provides opportunities to contest IPR abuses among member-countries. Importantly, TRIPS contains several principles and flexible provisions such as exclusion of some kinds of inventions from patenting (for example, plants, animals, and other “essentially biological” processes). These exceptions are important as they allow countries to tailor their IPR regimes to their own specific circumstances to allow utilization of local resources, e.g. local crops or crop varieties, without the intervention of IPRs.

Second, proactive access to modern biotechnologies can be facilitated with IP agreements that have clarified terms and provisions. New approaches, such as patent pools and open source licensing, for example, are expediting the deployment of new technologies around the world, while reducing their costs.  The patent pool for GoldenRiceTM , a genetically engineered crop that is associated with multiple patent holders, results in reduced transaction costs since institutions in developing countries have to negotiate with a single licensing authority, the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board. Even better, open source licensing for alternative transformation techniques to produce genetically enhanced crops, biotech tools, genes, etc. that are not patented and can provide licenses at no cost.

Third, innovation needs collaboration.  We should actively nurture the formation of partnerships between the technology suppliers, governments, and private entities that acquire and develop the technology, and the agriculturalists that deploy the technology.  Several of these collaborations have enabled access to some important biotechnologies (Golden rice, virus resistant papaya, etc.) and the design of new crop varieties for developing countries (e.g., NERICA rice varieties in Africa).  Thus, developing countries must scale up IP management efforts and foster learning on the proper exploitation of IP. Currently, tech transfer is often slowed by the absence of national and institutional policies and systems and limited human and financial resources. A supportive community of IPR practitioners should be identified, trained and encouraged to implement IP management changes in these countries. This may be as simple as consolidating institutional expertise and cost-sharing in global regions or turning to existing technology transfer offices in universities to manage IP portfolios in developing nations.  Washington State University, for instance, has helped several national agricultural research institutions in Africa to patent and commercialize their research products in the US market.

Finally, national agricultural research institutions should continue to build their national IP portfolios, which should be composed of local and indigenous innovations, and home-grown improvements on imported technologies to meet their particular agricultural needs, while bringing those products forward using appropriate business models.

The effective use of research and IPR can help drive delivery of innovative and productivity-increasing technologies crucial to agricultural and economic growth and achieving future needs for food security. The key is to match the proper IPR mechanisms with specific conditions, and to manage them effectively and efficiently to promote innovative research, technology transfer, wealth creation, and overall societal benefit.

Howard D. Grimes, Jane Payumo, and Keith Jones are from Washington State University. Grimes is the vice president for research and dean of the graduate school, Payumo is a postdoctoral research associate, and Jones is the director of the Office of Intellectual Property Administration and executive director of WSU Research Foundation. All are actively engaged in helping manage WSU research into economic development opportunities and disseminating the importance of innovation management to the global community.

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Avatar of: rameshraghuvanshi

rameshraghuvanshi

Posts: 20

July 20, 2011

Instead of increasing   food production why not scientists find out the safe way to limit that growth of population.Food production has limit how can you increase land?suppose you use extra  fertilizer what about health of people?Today people are opposing biochemical food .We Indian are experiencing terrible inflation because of food shortage.If population increase land is limited how can you product more food.Most Indian farmer not interested in farming.they want white caller job.More people are migrating-in  cities.

Avatar of: Wnt

Wnt

Posts: 1457

July 20, 2011

It is interesting that golden rice is presented as a good example of IP management.  For a simple two-gene insertion, 70 different patents had to be licensed.  According to Ingo Potrykus, "we soon realized that the task of technology transfer to developing countries, the international patent application, and the numerous IPRs and technical property rigths (TPRs) we had used in our
experiments were too much for two private persons to handle properly. We urgently needed a powerful partner (because of the deadline of the international patent application)."  Thus this humanitarian effort became the property of an IP firm, except for people making under $10,000 yearly.  Even so, it has been 11 years since its invention, and no one has access to it.  Maybe we never will - if regulators hold it up for a few more years, who will pay the money to persuade them to legalize it?

Whether we speak of music, business models, software, or life, "intellectual property" is a failed system.  It does not compensate inventors with anything but a small fraction of the value of the invention.  It rewards middlemen, lawyers, patent trolls, pharmaceutical companies that spend much more on marketing than research, people whose only creative spark is to realize that no idea is too obvious to patent.  It stamps out the individual and elevates the faceless corporation.  It taxes the sick to pay for medical research.  It criminalizes the teacher and the tinkerer.  It is a failed economic system contributing to the collapse of the U.S. just as Communism contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union.

What we need is not newer, better IP, but a retreat to common sense.  Information can't be owned.  Copyright and patent royalties are simply a form of tax.  And we have the option to chop out all the middlemen and simply charge that tax, fairly, impartially, without metering by the novel or the pill, proportional simply to the income tax, on the entire population, and to dispense the rewards of that tax not as "payments for property" but as grants distributed by independent funding organizations.  And these organizations can be chosen by each individual taxpayer on the yearly form according to personal opinion, thereby preserving a form of market feedback and competition.

This may seem radical now, but the IP system will continue to deteriorate.  It is our choice when to abandon ship.  Do we want to wait until we are dealing with oligarchs, mafias, and a country with no health care and no "safety net"?  Or do we see the future as something to be planned and changed rather than merely endured?

Avatar of: vetury sitaramam

Anonymous

July 20, 2011

This article represents the lack of sensitivity that is so characteristic of the the current academic. Transformation of research and national development into the backyards of industry under the bandwagon of development and  globalization is coming under fire in virtually every international forum. Golden rice for all the carotene it supposedly supplies (which I am given to understand is a hyperbole) should be banned from any developing country (the problem is not understanding patent regimes but the false promises that these companies make) as any other GM crop that does not allow the farmer the right to retain usable seed. The silver lining in the cloud is that the GM claims for yield and drought tolerance are patently false and will be eliminated in trials. There was a time vaccines were given without patents because they are good for people. Have we lost all sensitivities?

Avatar of: Prasanta K Ghosh

Anonymous

July 20, 2011

Logical. Access to germplasm should also be paid for; it cannot not be free.Collaboration with a human face so as to create a win-win situation is likely to benefit all.

Avatar of: Mabrouk A. El-Sharkawy

Anonymous

July 20, 2011

As most developing countries lack historical research tracks and expertise, the research establishements in developed countries along with the international research centers of the CGIAR system (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) must integrate their efforts to enhance improved technology transfer into developing countries, where it urgently needed. Intellectual Property (IP) issue shouldnt be a barrier in this case.

Avatar of: elena

Anonymous

July 20, 2011

 Golden rice(TM) being the only example here of how it could 'potentially work', I am not sure if Golden rice(TM) has been a good sell to the folk who potentially would  use it as a staple- there are anecdotes out there that the  taste and color is not a sought out commodity. (would like to try growing and eating it myself one day, but wondering what hurdles I would have to go through to do that?) 

Elena
Ag student who may or may not know enough

Avatar of: Claudia WoodwardRice

Claudia WoodwardRice

Posts: 1457

July 20, 2011

"Intellectual property"- is this a plea to protect
Monsanto?? They are the most unsustainable/destructive force on the planet.

Avatar of: Mabrouk A. El-Sharkawy

Anonymous

July 20, 2011

I agree completely with the objective comments by "Wnt" poster.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

As most developing countries lack historical research tracks and expertise, the research establishements in developed countries along with the international research centers of the CGIAR system (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) must integrate their efforts to enhance improved technology transfer into developing countries, where it urgently needed. Intellectual Property (IP) issue shouldnt be a barrier in this case.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

 Golden rice(TM) being the only example here of how it could 'potentially work', I am not sure if Golden rice(TM) has been a good sell to the folk who potentially would  use it as a staple- there are anecdotes out there that the  taste and color is not a sought out commodity. (would like to try growing and eating it myself one day, but wondering what hurdles I would have to go through to do that?) 

Elena
Ag student who may or may not know enough

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

Instead of increasing   food production why not scientists find out the safe way to limit that growth of population.Food production has limit how can you increase land?suppose you use extra  fertilizer what about health of people?Today people are opposing biochemical food .We Indian are experiencing terrible inflation because of food shortage.If population increase land is limited how can you product more food.Most Indian farmer not interested in farming.they want white caller job.More people are migrating-in  cities.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

It is interesting that golden rice is presented as a good example of IP management.  For a simple two-gene insertion, 70 different patents had to be licensed.  According to Ingo Potrykus, "we soon realized that the task of technology transfer to developing countries, the international patent application, and the numerous IPRs and technical property rigths (TPRs) we had used in our
experiments were too much for two private persons to handle properly. We urgently needed a powerful partner (because of the deadline of the international patent application)."  Thus this humanitarian effort became the property of an IP firm, except for people making under $10,000 yearly.  Even so, it has been 11 years since its invention, and no one has access to it.  Maybe we never will - if regulators hold it up for a few more years, who will pay the money to persuade them to legalize it?

Whether we speak of music, business models, software, or life, "intellectual property" is a failed system.  It does not compensate inventors with anything but a small fraction of the value of the invention.  It rewards middlemen, lawyers, patent trolls, pharmaceutical companies that spend much more on marketing than research, people whose only creative spark is to realize that no idea is too obvious to patent.  It stamps out the individual and elevates the faceless corporation.  It taxes the sick to pay for medical research.  It criminalizes the teacher and the tinkerer.  It is a failed economic system contributing to the collapse of the U.S. just as Communism contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union.

What we need is not newer, better IP, but a retreat to common sense.  Information can't be owned.  Copyright and patent royalties are simply a form of tax.  And we have the option to chop out all the middlemen and simply charge that tax, fairly, impartially, without metering by the novel or the pill, proportional simply to the income tax, on the entire population, and to dispense the rewards of that tax not as "payments for property" but as grants distributed by independent funding organizations.  And these organizations can be chosen by each individual taxpayer on the yearly form according to personal opinion, thereby preserving a form of market feedback and competition.

This may seem radical now, but the IP system will continue to deteriorate.  It is our choice when to abandon ship.  Do we want to wait until we are dealing with oligarchs, mafias, and a country with no health care and no "safety net"?  Or do we see the future as something to be planned and changed rather than merely endured?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

This article represents the lack of sensitivity that is so characteristic of the the current academic. Transformation of research and national development into the backyards of industry under the bandwagon of development and  globalization is coming under fire in virtually every international forum. Golden rice for all the carotene it supposedly supplies (which I am given to understand is a hyperbole) should be banned from any developing country (the problem is not understanding patent regimes but the false promises that these companies make) as any other GM crop that does not allow the farmer the right to retain usable seed. The silver lining in the cloud is that the GM claims for yield and drought tolerance are patently false and will be eliminated in trials. There was a time vaccines were given without patents because they are good for people. Have we lost all sensitivities?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

Logical. Access to germplasm should also be paid for; it cannot not be free.Collaboration with a human face so as to create a win-win situation is likely to benefit all.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

"Intellectual property"- is this a plea to protect
Monsanto?? They are the most unsustainable/destructive force on the planet.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

I agree completely with the objective comments by "Wnt" poster.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

Instead of increasing   food production why not scientists find out the safe way to limit that growth of population.Food production has limit how can you increase land?suppose you use extra  fertilizer what about health of people?Today people are opposing biochemical food .We Indian are experiencing terrible inflation because of food shortage.If population increase land is limited how can you product more food.Most Indian farmer not interested in farming.they want white caller job.More people are migrating-in  cities.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

It is interesting that golden rice is presented as a good example of IP management.  For a simple two-gene insertion, 70 different patents had to be licensed.  According to Ingo Potrykus, "we soon realized that the task of technology transfer to developing countries, the international patent application, and the numerous IPRs and technical property rigths (TPRs) we had used in our
experiments were too much for two private persons to handle properly. We urgently needed a powerful partner (because of the deadline of the international patent application)."  Thus this humanitarian effort became the property of an IP firm, except for people making under $10,000 yearly.  Even so, it has been 11 years since its invention, and no one has access to it.  Maybe we never will - if regulators hold it up for a few more years, who will pay the money to persuade them to legalize it?

Whether we speak of music, business models, software, or life, "intellectual property" is a failed system.  It does not compensate inventors with anything but a small fraction of the value of the invention.  It rewards middlemen, lawyers, patent trolls, pharmaceutical companies that spend much more on marketing than research, people whose only creative spark is to realize that no idea is too obvious to patent.  It stamps out the individual and elevates the faceless corporation.  It taxes the sick to pay for medical research.  It criminalizes the teacher and the tinkerer.  It is a failed economic system contributing to the collapse of the U.S. just as Communism contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union.

What we need is not newer, better IP, but a retreat to common sense.  Information can't be owned.  Copyright and patent royalties are simply a form of tax.  And we have the option to chop out all the middlemen and simply charge that tax, fairly, impartially, without metering by the novel or the pill, proportional simply to the income tax, on the entire population, and to dispense the rewards of that tax not as "payments for property" but as grants distributed by independent funding organizations.  And these organizations can be chosen by each individual taxpayer on the yearly form according to personal opinion, thereby preserving a form of market feedback and competition.

This may seem radical now, but the IP system will continue to deteriorate.  It is our choice when to abandon ship.  Do we want to wait until we are dealing with oligarchs, mafias, and a country with no health care and no "safety net"?  Or do we see the future as something to be planned and changed rather than merely endured?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

This article represents the lack of sensitivity that is so characteristic of the the current academic. Transformation of research and national development into the backyards of industry under the bandwagon of development and  globalization is coming under fire in virtually every international forum. Golden rice for all the carotene it supposedly supplies (which I am given to understand is a hyperbole) should be banned from any developing country (the problem is not understanding patent regimes but the false promises that these companies make) as any other GM crop that does not allow the farmer the right to retain usable seed. The silver lining in the cloud is that the GM claims for yield and drought tolerance are patently false and will be eliminated in trials. There was a time vaccines were given without patents because they are good for people. Have we lost all sensitivities?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

Logical. Access to germplasm should also be paid for; it cannot not be free.Collaboration with a human face so as to create a win-win situation is likely to benefit all.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

As most developing countries lack historical research tracks and expertise, the research establishements in developed countries along with the international research centers of the CGIAR system (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) must integrate their efforts to enhance improved technology transfer into developing countries, where it urgently needed. Intellectual Property (IP) issue shouldnt be a barrier in this case.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

 Golden rice(TM) being the only example here of how it could 'potentially work', I am not sure if Golden rice(TM) has been a good sell to the folk who potentially would  use it as a staple- there are anecdotes out there that the  taste and color is not a sought out commodity. (would like to try growing and eating it myself one day, but wondering what hurdles I would have to go through to do that?) 

Elena
Ag student who may or may not know enough

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

"Intellectual property"- is this a plea to protect
Monsanto?? They are the most unsustainable/destructive force on the planet.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 20, 2011

I agree completely with the objective comments by "Wnt" poster.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 21, 2011

i agree with you...it is a useless rice no one can consume...not liked by asians for whom it was developed...

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 21, 2011

i agree with you...it is a useless rice no one can consume...not liked by asians for whom it was developed...

Avatar of: Arumugakannu

Anonymous

July 21, 2011

i agree with you...it is a useless rice no one can consume...not liked by asians for whom it was developed...

Avatar of: Joe

Anonymous

July 22, 2011

Rarely have I read such imbecile hyperbole as this comment...

Avatar of: Josias R. Tiburcio, Jr.

Anonymous

July 22, 2011

I do wonder who should be protecting the right of small farmers to their usual varieties. When Bt corn was tested/introduced in the Philippines, Monsanto had it planted in open fields right in the middle of the corn producing areas in the country. Corn is an open pollinated crop - meaning a corn plant can pollinate another corn plant without human assistance. Bt corn planted among farmers' fields pollinated the usual farmers' varieties. Now, if the Bt gene gets into the farmers' corn does Monsanto have the right to make the farmers pay for the Bt gene? I believe the farmers' rights to their traditional varieties and the right to plant during their usual planting season comes before any right of Monsanto to its IP. Any contamination is the lookout of Monsanto, not the farmers.

Monsanto's approach to introducing Bt corn in this country is unfair. It sought the assistance of the Department of Agriculture, which became the frontliner in the dissemination of Bt corn. It even had a scientist assigned to oversee the program. If and when something goes wrong with the Bt corn, who is going to go after Monsanto? Monsanto can wash its hands off it because it was DA anyway which facilitated the introduction of Bt corn.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 22, 2011

I do wonder who should be protecting the right of small farmers to their usual varieties. When Bt corn was tested/introduced in the Philippines, Monsanto had it planted in open fields right in the middle of the corn producing areas in the country. Corn is an open pollinated crop - meaning a corn plant can pollinate another corn plant without human assistance. Bt corn planted among farmers' fields pollinated the usual farmers' varieties. Now, if the Bt gene gets into the farmers' corn does Monsanto have the right to make the farmers pay for the Bt gene? I believe the farmers' rights to their traditional varieties and the right to plant during their usual planting season comes before any right of Monsanto to its IP. Any contamination is the lookout of Monsanto, not the farmers.

Monsanto's approach to introducing Bt corn in this country is unfair. It sought the assistance of the Department of Agriculture, which became the frontliner in the dissemination of Bt corn. It even had a scientist assigned to oversee the program. If and when something goes wrong with the Bt corn, who is going to go after Monsanto? Monsanto can wash its hands off it because it was DA anyway which facilitated the introduction of Bt corn.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 22, 2011

Rarely have I read such imbecile hyperbole as this comment...

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 22, 2011

I do wonder who should be protecting the right of small farmers to their usual varieties. When Bt corn was tested/introduced in the Philippines, Monsanto had it planted in open fields right in the middle of the corn producing areas in the country. Corn is an open pollinated crop - meaning a corn plant can pollinate another corn plant without human assistance. Bt corn planted among farmers' fields pollinated the usual farmers' varieties. Now, if the Bt gene gets into the farmers' corn does Monsanto have the right to make the farmers pay for the Bt gene? I believe the farmers' rights to their traditional varieties and the right to plant during their usual planting season comes before any right of Monsanto to its IP. Any contamination is the lookout of Monsanto, not the farmers.

Monsanto's approach to introducing Bt corn in this country is unfair. It sought the assistance of the Department of Agriculture, which became the frontliner in the dissemination of Bt corn. It even had a scientist assigned to oversee the program. If and when something goes wrong with the Bt corn, who is going to go after Monsanto? Monsanto can wash its hands off it because it was DA anyway which facilitated the introduction of Bt corn.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 22, 2011

Rarely have I read such imbecile hyperbole as this comment...

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

August 2, 2011

So long as agriculture continues to be practised on land and partly in water, it shall remain a sensitive issue for socio-politico-economy of world’s peoples. There is as yet no factory-based mass scale industrial system of agricultural production that draws raw inputs from freely available natural resources and specific advantage of agro-ecosystems.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime originated initially for trade-related industrial production systems which agriculture is considered to be not. That is why global application of IPR to agriculture took long and circuitous paths through decades. IPR in agriculture and other biology-based technologies faces controversies till date.
The opinion by Howard D. Grimes et alia (2011) on ‘Food Security Needs Sound IP’ skips ground realities in India and similarly situated countries.  The primary contention of Howard D. Grimes et alia is that protection of IPR needs improvement to help promote transfer of sustainable agricultural technologies remodelled into inexpensive tools accessible to ‘world’s poorest populations’ and that such technologies are ‘most likely to be developed by the industrialised countries’. Their contention is unacceptable. 
Attention is drawn here to just two among many international instruments: World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
India became a member of the WTO on 1 January 1995. It also brought to reality in an updated form the failed attempt in 1948 to create an International Trade Organization (ITO). WTO is concerned with all trade-related aspects among and between countries. Member countries are required to frame laws for equity in transborder trade. One major aspect of WTO is Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In conformity with WTO, TRIPS and Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), a number of acts have been promulgated in India. Several of existing laws have been amended or extended in scope and application. A few of such laws are Indian Patents Act, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, Geographical Indication Act, Seed Act etc.  
The CBD is another international legally binding treaty with three principal goals: conservation of biological diversity (biodiversity), sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. India is a party to the United Nations CBD signed at the Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992. The BD Act 2002 is in existence in India as Law. Rules (BD Rules 2009) under this law have been implemented.
Global IPR regime initiated by WTO-TRIPS-AoA should be considered together with CBD in the Indian context. Government of India, on the recommendations of the National Biodiversity Authority, framed rules in 2009 for ground level implementation of the provisions of BD Act. An important feature is elaboration of Traditional Knowledge (TK).  These rules are called the ‘Rules for Protection, Conservation and Effective Management of Traditional Knowledge Relating to Biological Diversity’. TK has been defined under these rules as:
“the collective knowledge of a traditional community including of a group of families, on a particular subject or a skill and passed down from generation to generation, either orally or in written form, relating to properties, uses and characteristics of plant and animal genetic resources; agricultural and healthcare practices, food preservation and processing techniques and devices developed from traditional materials; cultural expressions, products and practices such as weaving patterns, colors, dyes, pottery, painting, poetry, folklore, dance and music; and all other products or processes discovered through a community process including by a member of the community individually but for the common use of the communityâ€쳌. Despite the enormous volume of TK-based products, their production systems have not been categorised as industry simply because these belong to the unorganised sector and benefits thereof are public good freely accessible to all. Unknown or unrecorded individuals and communities are TK inventors which is why IPR system disregarded TK as patentable. This simple fact illustrates that IPR is basically meant to channel profit to inventors and their mentors but not to all as the common property. Normal patent laws tend to provide time-bound ownership to individual inventors and for inventions demonstrating novelty and capability of industrial application. Agrodiversity-suited agricultural practices, location-specific biodiversity and community-based TK, on the other hand, have collective ownership held in perpetuity from generation to generation, are incremental, informal and occur over time. India and the international community, following long and tortuous debates, finally accepted to recognise and protect TK by suitable laws. Since common laws were inadequate, a sui generis (i.e. unique unto itself) IPR law was considered indispensable to protect TK. The question was how to make appropriate laws for TK protection. India provides for collective rights of communities over TK, location-specific or community-specific innovative products, forest management and biodiversity through separate laws.  These rights must be used for the common good of all. Other uses for commercial, scientific and research purposes may be allowed only with prior informed consent (PIC) to be obtained from the traditional community. Misappropriation of TK (in any form of appropriation, monopolisation, including claims of private ownership and/or intellectual property rights etc.) which deprive the concerned traditional community from using, conserving and protecting TK is not permissible. TK and biological resources must be utilised for equitable access and benefit sharing (ABS). Under BD Act, local BD Management Committees (BMC) of the panchayat level is responsible for creating and updating local-level BD Registers. India has already put on the web the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). Such digital database enables Indian citizens and Patent Offices around the world to search and examine any TK to prevent grant of erroneous patents and to deter biopiracy. It is conceded here that, regrettably, Indian laws driven by commitments to WTO and CBD are not implemented as these ought to have been. The reasons for this lacuna are lack of awareness by scientists and other stakeholders in agriculture and absence of the required infrastructure. 
Indian agriculture is a gigantic producing-consuming market. It is faced with unprecedented challenges. The global developments in cutting edge technologies in conjunction with open market economy encourage the national potentials to gain a comparative advantage. With WTO and CBD related commitments to an altering World Order, Indian agriculture calls for commensurate action to national benefit. Agriculture has grown larger than mere cropping of organisms. India needs manpower to steer the agriculture sector through international disputes, trade intrigues and local-level litigation. People’s Biodiversity Registers and documentation of innovations of all kinds and at all levels should become indispensable through mass awareness and action. 
An improved protection of IPRs recommended by Howard D. Grimes et alia shall fail to provide the public good that ‘the world’s poorest populations’ actually need. IPRs in all its forms, shades and extensions, including Community and Farmers’ Rights, must be concurrently considered en bloc to create common public good. Only then shall IPRs benefit world’s agriculture.
SKT Nasar
Kolkata, India
sktnasar@hotmail.com
 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

August 2, 2011

So long as agriculture continues to be practised on land and partly in water, it shall remain a sensitive issue for socio-politico-economy of world’s peoples. There is as yet no factory-based mass scale industrial system of agricultural production that draws raw inputs from freely available natural resources and specific advantage of agro-ecosystems.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime originated initially for trade-related industrial production systems which agriculture is considered to be not. That is why global application of IPR to agriculture took long and circuitous paths through decades. IPR in agriculture and other biology-based technologies faces controversies till date.
The opinion by Howard D. Grimes et alia (2011) on ‘Food Security Needs Sound IP’ skips ground realities in India and similarly situated countries.  The primary contention of Howard D. Grimes et alia is that protection of IPR needs improvement to help promote transfer of sustainable agricultural technologies remodelled into inexpensive tools accessible to ‘world’s poorest populations’ and that such technologies are ‘most likely to be developed by the industrialised countries’. Their contention is unacceptable. 
Attention is drawn here to just two among many international instruments: World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
India became a member of the WTO on 1 January 1995. It also brought to reality in an updated form the failed attempt in 1948 to create an International Trade Organization (ITO). WTO is concerned with all trade-related aspects among and between countries. Member countries are required to frame laws for equity in transborder trade. One major aspect of WTO is Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In conformity with WTO, TRIPS and Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), a number of acts have been promulgated in India. Several of existing laws have been amended or extended in scope and application. A few of such laws are Indian Patents Act, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, Geographical Indication Act, Seed Act etc.  
The CBD is another international legally binding treaty with three principal goals: conservation of biological diversity (biodiversity), sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. India is a party to the United Nations CBD signed at the Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992. The BD Act 2002 is in existence in India as Law. Rules (BD Rules 2009) under this law have been implemented.
Global IPR regime initiated by WTO-TRIPS-AoA should be considered together with CBD in the Indian context. Government of India, on the recommendations of the National Biodiversity Authority, framed rules in 2009 for ground level implementation of the provisions of BD Act. An important feature is elaboration of Traditional Knowledge (TK).  These rules are called the ‘Rules for Protection, Conservation and Effective Management of Traditional Knowledge Relating to Biological Diversity’. TK has been defined under these rules as:
“the collective knowledge of a traditional community including of a group of families, on a particular subject or a skill and passed down from generation to generation, either orally or in written form, relating to properties, uses and characteristics of plant and animal genetic resources; agricultural and healthcare practices, food preservation and processing techniques and devices developed from traditional materials; cultural expressions, products and practices such as weaving patterns, colors, dyes, pottery, painting, poetry, folklore, dance and music; and all other products or processes discovered through a community process including by a member of the community individually but for the common use of the communityâ€쳌. Despite the enormous volume of TK-based products, their production systems have not been categorised as industry simply because these belong to the unorganised sector and benefits thereof are public good freely accessible to all. Unknown or unrecorded individuals and communities are TK inventors which is why IPR system disregarded TK as patentable. This simple fact illustrates that IPR is basically meant to channel profit to inventors and their mentors but not to all as the common property. Normal patent laws tend to provide time-bound ownership to individual inventors and for inventions demonstrating novelty and capability of industrial application. Agrodiversity-suited agricultural practices, location-specific biodiversity and community-based TK, on the other hand, have collective ownership held in perpetuity from generation to generation, are incremental, informal and occur over time. India and the international community, following long and tortuous debates, finally accepted to recognise and protect TK by suitable laws. Since common laws were inadequate, a sui generis (i.e. unique unto itself) IPR law was considered indispensable to protect TK. The question was how to make appropriate laws for TK protection. India provides for collective rights of communities over TK, location-specific or community-specific innovative products, forest management and biodiversity through separate laws.  These rights must be used for the common good of all. Other uses for commercial, scientific and research purposes may be allowed only with prior informed consent (PIC) to be obtained from the traditional community. Misappropriation of TK (in any form of appropriation, monopolisation, including claims of private ownership and/or intellectual property rights etc.) which deprive the concerned traditional community from using, conserving and protecting TK is not permissible. TK and biological resources must be utilised for equitable access and benefit sharing (ABS). Under BD Act, local BD Management Committees (BMC) of the panchayat level is responsible for creating and updating local-level BD Registers. India has already put on the web the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). Such digital database enables Indian citizens and Patent Offices around the world to search and examine any TK to prevent grant of erroneous patents and to deter biopiracy. It is conceded here that, regrettably, Indian laws driven by commitments to WTO and CBD are not implemented as these ought to have been. The reasons for this lacuna are lack of awareness by scientists and other stakeholders in agriculture and absence of the required infrastructure. 
Indian agriculture is a gigantic producing-consuming market. It is faced with unprecedented challenges. The global developments in cutting edge technologies in conjunction with open market economy encourage the national potentials to gain a comparative advantage. With WTO and CBD related commitments to an altering World Order, Indian agriculture calls for commensurate action to national benefit. Agriculture has grown larger than mere cropping of organisms. India needs manpower to steer the agriculture sector through international disputes, trade intrigues and local-level litigation. People’s Biodiversity Registers and documentation of innovations of all kinds and at all levels should become indispensable through mass awareness and action. 
An improved protection of IPRs recommended by Howard D. Grimes et alia shall fail to provide the public good that ‘the world’s poorest populations’ actually need. IPRs in all its forms, shades and extensions, including Community and Farmers’ Rights, must be concurrently considered en bloc to create common public good. Only then shall IPRs benefit world’s agriculture.
SKT Nasar
Kolkata, India
sktnasar@hotmail.com
 

Avatar of: SKT Nasar

Anonymous

August 2, 2011

So long as agriculture continues to be practised on land and partly in water, it shall remain a sensitive issue for socio-politico-economy of world’s peoples. There is as yet no factory-based mass scale industrial system of agricultural production that draws raw inputs from freely available natural resources and specific advantage of agro-ecosystems.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime originated initially for trade-related industrial production systems which agriculture is considered to be not. That is why global application of IPR to agriculture took long and circuitous paths through decades. IPR in agriculture and other biology-based technologies faces controversies till date.
The opinion by Howard D. Grimes et alia (2011) on ‘Food Security Needs Sound IP’ skips ground realities in India and similarly situated countries.  The primary contention of Howard D. Grimes et alia is that protection of IPR needs improvement to help promote transfer of sustainable agricultural technologies remodelled into inexpensive tools accessible to ‘world’s poorest populations’ and that such technologies are ‘most likely to be developed by the industrialised countries’. Their contention is unacceptable. 
Attention is drawn here to just two among many international instruments: World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
India became a member of the WTO on 1 January 1995. It also brought to reality in an updated form the failed attempt in 1948 to create an International Trade Organization (ITO). WTO is concerned with all trade-related aspects among and between countries. Member countries are required to frame laws for equity in transborder trade. One major aspect of WTO is Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In conformity with WTO, TRIPS and Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), a number of acts have been promulgated in India. Several of existing laws have been amended or extended in scope and application. A few of such laws are Indian Patents Act, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, Geographical Indication Act, Seed Act etc.  
The CBD is another international legally binding treaty with three principal goals: conservation of biological diversity (biodiversity), sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. India is a party to the United Nations CBD signed at the Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992. The BD Act 2002 is in existence in India as Law. Rules (BD Rules 2009) under this law have been implemented.
Global IPR regime initiated by WTO-TRIPS-AoA should be considered together with CBD in the Indian context. Government of India, on the recommendations of the National Biodiversity Authority, framed rules in 2009 for ground level implementation of the provisions of BD Act. An important feature is elaboration of Traditional Knowledge (TK).  These rules are called the ‘Rules for Protection, Conservation and Effective Management of Traditional Knowledge Relating to Biological Diversity’. TK has been defined under these rules as:
“the collective knowledge of a traditional community including of a group of families, on a particular subject or a skill and passed down from generation to generation, either orally or in written form, relating to properties, uses and characteristics of plant and animal genetic resources; agricultural and healthcare practices, food preservation and processing techniques and devices developed from traditional materials; cultural expressions, products and practices such as weaving patterns, colors, dyes, pottery, painting, poetry, folklore, dance and music; and all other products or processes discovered through a community process including by a member of the community individually but for the common use of the communityâ€쳌. Despite the enormous volume of TK-based products, their production systems have not been categorised as industry simply because these belong to the unorganised sector and benefits thereof are public good freely accessible to all. Unknown or unrecorded individuals and communities are TK inventors which is why IPR system disregarded TK as patentable. This simple fact illustrates that IPR is basically meant to channel profit to inventors and their mentors but not to all as the common property. Normal patent laws tend to provide time-bound ownership to individual inventors and for inventions demonstrating novelty and capability of industrial application. Agrodiversity-suited agricultural practices, location-specific biodiversity and community-based TK, on the other hand, have collective ownership held in perpetuity from generation to generation, are incremental, informal and occur over time. India and the international community, following long and tortuous debates, finally accepted to recognise and protect TK by suitable laws. Since common laws were inadequate, a sui generis (i.e. unique unto itself) IPR law was considered indispensable to protect TK. The question was how to make appropriate laws for TK protection. India provides for collective rights of communities over TK, location-specific or community-specific innovative products, forest management and biodiversity through separate laws.  These rights must be used for the common good of all. Other uses for commercial, scientific and research purposes may be allowed only with prior informed consent (PIC) to be obtained from the traditional community. Misappropriation of TK (in any form of appropriation, monopolisation, including claims of private ownership and/or intellectual property rights etc.) which deprive the concerned traditional community from using, conserving and protecting TK is not permissible. TK and biological resources must be utilised for equitable access and benefit sharing (ABS). Under BD Act, local BD Management Committees (BMC) of the panchayat level is responsible for creating and updating local-level BD Registers. India has already put on the web the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). Such digital database enables Indian citizens and Patent Offices around the world to search and examine any TK to prevent grant of erroneous patents and to deter biopiracy. It is conceded here that, regrettably, Indian laws driven by commitments to WTO and CBD are not implemented as these ought to have been. The reasons for this lacuna are lack of awareness by scientists and other stakeholders in agriculture and absence of the required infrastructure. 
Indian agriculture is a gigantic producing-consuming market. It is faced with unprecedented challenges. The global developments in cutting edge technologies in conjunction with open market economy encourage the national potentials to gain a comparative advantage. With WTO and CBD related commitments to an altering World Order, Indian agriculture calls for commensurate action to national benefit. Agriculture has grown larger than mere cropping of organisms. India needs manpower to steer the agriculture sector through international disputes, trade intrigues and local-level litigation. People’s Biodiversity Registers and documentation of innovations of all kinds and at all levels should become indispensable through mass awareness and action. 
An improved protection of IPRs recommended by Howard D. Grimes et alia shall fail to provide the public good that ‘the world’s poorest populations’ actually need. IPRs in all its forms, shades and extensions, including Community and Farmers’ Rights, must be concurrently considered en bloc to create common public good. Only then shall IPRs benefit world’s agriculture.
SKT Nasar
Kolkata, India
sktnasar@hotmail.com
 

Avatar of: Jobs in Nigeria

Anonymous

August 13, 2011

Great prediction and analysis.

From Jobs in Nigeria

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Posts: 0

August 13, 2011

Great prediction and analysis.

From Jobs in Nigeria

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

August 13, 2011

Great prediction and analysis.

From Jobs in Nigeria

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