Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Intellectual Property Rights and Biotechnology



 
Introduction

 
The word 'intellectual' means possessing or showing intellect or mental capacity especially to a high degree of an intellectual person; guided or developed by or relying on the intellect rather than upon emotions or feeling; characterized by or suggesting a predominance of intellect. 'Property' means that which a person owns, the possession of a particular owner; ownership right of possession; enjoyment or of anything. 'Rights' means that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles. Therefore, Intellectual Property Rights of any Patents or Process must have some ingenuity and fall within the category of 'inventions' where the 'intellect' must have played a predominal role. 'Discoveries' which already have existed in nature but only have been retrieved by someone and put to benefit of people should not be equalized with inventions. Biotechnology involves use of scientific and engineering principles for processing of materials (organic or inorganic) using biological agents to provide goods and services.


 
In biotechnological research problem arises concerning the protection of intellectual property of innovations in this field, beyond the legal and ethical questions of patentability. Such problems arise because living organisms are able to reproduce themselves even if they are patented and in view of this special quality of living organisms, the scope of a patent is difficult to define, which makes it nearly impossible to find a balance between private and public interests. It is necessary to oblige scientists, as well as scientific research and development units working in the field of biotechnology, to conform with the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), guaranteeing both the principle of free scientific approach to world-wide genetic resources and the interests of developing countries in sharing the benefits of technological progress. As such to achieve a balanced system for protecting both intellectual property and the common heritage of mankind methods other than patents have to be found out as progress in agriculture should benefit as many people as possible.

 

 

 

 
In addition, for ethical, religious & moral reasons there are severe reservations against patenting living organisms. Moreover, the issue of patenting living organisms could conflict with provisions of international treaties such as the Convention on Biological Diversity.

 
Monopolies granted by patent authorities may undermine the value of regional and world-wide genetic resources and of traditional knowledge in those countries that provide access to the these resources. The aim of sharing the benefits from the utilization of genetic resources on this broader view does not necessarily require patent-holding but requires a balanced system for protecting both intellectual property and the "common heritage of mankind".
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Many outstanding questions regarding the patentability and the scope of protection of patents on living organisms in the agro-food sector must be solved swiftly taking into account all interests concerned, not least those of farmers and developing countries.

 
Neither plant, animal nor human derived genes, cells, tissues or organs should be considered as inventions nor be subject to monopolies granted by patents.

 
Biotechnology and protection of intellectual property by patents

 
The granting of patents is basically subject to the three criteria: novelty, inventiveness and industrial applicability. Patent law makes a strict distinction between discovery and invention. What distinguishes an invention from an innovation is the "spark of genius"; only then is a patent granted, whether for a product or a process. Patent law is intended to afford the inventor protection against unauthorized claims on his intellectual feat and also to protect costly investment in research and development and the industrial application of research findings. At the same time, the public description of the technical novelty, including its manufacture and purpose, in a patent is intended to satisfy society's claim to comprehensive knowledge of all new inventions.

 
In the sphere of biotechnology, the ability to reproduce is a characteristic feature of patented organisms, the manufacturing process means something quite different by comparison with other technologies. The question of defining the inventive activity, eg in the isolation of a gene or its insertion in another cell, when the techniques employed are those of the current state of the art, has repeatedly given rise to controversy.

 
The Council of Europe, realizing that describing biotechnological feats as "inventions" confines discussion of intellectual property protection systems to questions of patent law, has tended to talk more generally of biotechnological innovations. This is intended to take into account the special importance to humanity of the diversity of genetic resources. This concept does not diminish the intrinsic value of plants and animals.

 
The application of patent law has proved particularly difficult in agriculture. Farmers and many small breeders possess neither the necessary knowledge nor the technical and financial resources to cope with this legal instrument. Furthermore, patents as such only protect novelty, while conservation of what exists goes economically unrewarded. This could have a lasting detrimental effect on the conservation of species diversity, because for example the patent system makes no provision for the breeder's exemption traditionally provided for in the protection of varieties. In biotechnology, the defensive aspect of patent law described above has gained the upper hand in many areas. Extensive patents could in some spheres give rise to a anti-innovative situation in medicine, agriculture and plant breeding.

 
Legislators have always seen a need for compromise between the interests of patent holders and society, because patents can have a negative effect for society. In some areas, patents have been prohibited on principle. For instance, human therapeutic and diagnostic methods cannot be patented. The European Patent Convention of 1977 includes "essentially biological processes", "plant or animal varieties" and "discoveries" and requires conformity with "ordre public" and "morality". Corresponding provisions are to be found in WTO and NAFT A (North American Free Trade Area) rules, the latter using the same wording.

 
Despite this, European patents for plant and animal varieties were still granted until they were prohibited by a ruling of the EPO Board of Appeal in 1995.

 
Even human body cells and genes are being patented. At the EPO, over 2,000 human gene patents have been applied for; about 300 have already been granted. Worldwide, there are about 1,500 human gene patents. Of some 500 applications for animals, about a dozen have been granted. Over 1,000 patent applications have been filed for plants and of those over 1,00 granted. By this means, not only actual fully researched industrial applications, but also potential applications are protected. This is in line with traditional patent practice, whereby not yet completely known applications can be protected. But patenting genes opens entirely new horizons. Anyone holding a gene patent can control all possible applications of that gene. This applies to pharmaceutical applications and also to plant and animal breeding.

 
Patent claims in the biotechnological sphere, insofar as they concern genes capable of self-reproduction, can comprise the following:

 
  • all variations of the gene sequence,
  • use for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes,
  • production of vaccines,
  • all micro-organisms into which the gene can be transplanted,
  • all plants and plant varieties into which the gene can be transplanted,
  • all as yet unknown uses of the gene,
  • all proteins that can be produced using the gene and all uses of them, eg for     medical purposes.

 
These possibilities of extensive patent claims based on biotechnological innovations are not without consequences for agriculture, especially in the species-rich developing countries.

 
Effects of Patents on Genetic Resources on agriculture and the developing countries

 
Although the protection of intellectual property in the field of biotechnology, especially gene technology, has only been provided by patent law for a few years, serious unprecedented difficulties have come to light concerning the balance between public and private interests.    It is in the area of plant breeding that the clearest evidence has emerged of the great difficulty of weighing up legitimate claims for the protection of innovations on the one hand, and mankind's entitlement to free access to the genetic resources that make up humanity's common heritage on the other. In the meantime, there are now patented hybrid seeds that as a result of genetic modification have lost the ability to reproduce. This makes it not only legally, but biologically impossible to repeat the crop by self-seeding. Control of the seed market in southern countries is economically interesting also because in India, Bangladesh, Asia, Africa and South America, up to 80% of the harvest is used for resowing. Especially China and Brazil, but also Mexico, Morocco, India and Pakistan are regarded as important growth markets for commercial seed. Not only plants, but also animals, insects and micro-organisms are systematically catalogued and analysed with a view to securing patents. Nor can it be ruled out that similar developments may occur in animal breeding and in the therapeutically and economically interesting combination of farming and pharmaceuticals (gene pharming e.g. of valuable proteins in the milk of transgenic animals). Furthermore, cultural knowledge about the use of biological diversity, e.g. the use of medicinal plants or plant breeding, may also be affected.

 
Perhaps the best-known illustration is the case of the Neem tree, which was discussed at length at the Conference organised by the Council of Europe in May 1999 at Oviedo (Spain) on "ethical issues arising from the application of biotechnology". The substances contained in the tree, once technically isolated, can be patented. The tree's pre-existing uses for medicinal and pesticidal purposes cannot be patented. Yet in India the Neem tree has for centuries played a key role in agriculture, in public health, medicine, cosmetics, in protecting domestic animals and in religious ceremonies. Its medical uses include tooth care, treatment of skin infections, parasites, inflammations of the eyes and ears and much more besides. In India, the Neem tree is regarded as the "village dispensary". It is also used successfully in various ways to combat plant pests. For one of its main active substances, Azadirechtin, several patents have been granted in the USA and Europe. Critics point out that the use of substances from the Neem tree can in no way be regarded as an invention. In 1993 hundreds of thousands of farmers demonstrated against it.

 
One of the key problems in this respect is that only what has been isolated ("invented") in the laboratory can be patented. The collectively acquired knowledge of generations and the related innovations, eg in the use of medicinal plants, enjoys no protection. These patents shift the profit from the countries where they have hitherto been used, including economically, to the industrial nations. For the countries of origin, this can have additional direct effects: Because industry buys up the seeds of such plants, there is a risk that these may become scarce and more expensive for traditional use.

 
If the patenting of cultivated plants after genetic modification were to become standard procedure for protecting intellectual property in plant biotechnology, it would be only a matter of time before all cultivated plants of direct or indirect value as human food were patented. Attention was drawn to this and to the possible consequences, a breeding stoppage, by the European farming bodies (COPA Committee of Agricultural Organisations in the European Union)and COGECA (General Committee of Agricultural Co-operation in the European Union) in 1998. They called for full acceptance of the breeders' exemption in the patent directive. "However, this legal European framework must be balanced so as to enable the industry to be fully involved in this development, thereby ensuring the maintenance of a certain number of medium-sized plant and animal breeding enterprises under competitive conditions. Therefore, COPA requests the introduction of the 'breeder's privilege' concept."

 
At the Conference of states parties to the CBD in Bratislava in May 1998, forthright criticism was made of the European Union's Patent Directive and in particular of the removal from the text, under pressure from industry, of reference to a legally binding rule of origin.

 
Worldwide, there are some 1,500 seed suppliers; already today 60% of the market is controlled by only 35 competitors. Of over 30 such firms active in gene technology in 1990, only 7 remained in 1997. Experts estimate that this concentration process will continue and the gap between North and South will grow. About 90% of patents granted in the Third World belong to firms whose headquarters are in the industrial states.

 
China, India, Brazil and others recently restricted access to their genetic resources (TIME, 30 November 1998, p 46). India, referring to the CBD, passed a specific Biodiversity Act prohibiting the unauthorised export of biological material and making the acquisition of inventor's rights subject to prior authorisation. Meanwhile, the World Bank has urged the developing countries to defend their interests more strongly at the WTO's TRIPS negotiations. It pointed out that the extension of patent protection carried a risk of "shifting bargaining power towards the producers of knowledge and increasing the knowledge gap" (Nature, Vo1395, 8 October 1998). Leading representatives of the World Bank publicly championed "serious dialogue between the public and the private sectors in order to ensure that there is adequate attention to the poor , and that the issue of proprietary science does not become a real threat. Proprietary science also could exacerbate the gap between the haves and have-nots, with the risk of creating a "scientific apartheid" in the next century. We have to design the system in a way that reflects the mutual interests of all." (Newsweek, 24 August 1998, p 52)

 
The patent system as one system for the protection of intellectual property is an integral part of the market economy and can therefore be a driving force for innovation in many areas of technology. The problems caused by the application of patent laws to biotechnological innovations arise because living organisms are able to reproduce themselves even if they are patented. In regard to this special quality of living organisms the scope of a patent is difficult to define, which makes it nearly impossible to find a balance between public and private interests.

 
Monopolies granted by patent authorities may undermine the value of regional and worldwide genetic resources and of the traditional knowledge in those countries that provide access to biological resources. The many outstanding questions in regard to the patentability of living organisms in the agro-food sector and the extent of protection provided by such patents must be solved swiftly and with regard to all interests involved, not least those of farmers and of the developing countries. Furthermore, the patenting of living organisms could conflict with the provisions of international treaties such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) or the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

 
The aim of sharing benefits related to the utilization of genetic resources has to be addressed in broader terms. Bearing in mind the many unsolved questions, it is clear that methods other than patents have to be found in order to achieve a balanced system for protecting both intellectual property and the common heritage of mankind.

 
FAO recently agreed that the responsibility for realizing Farmers' Rights, as they relate to Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, rests with national governments. In accordance with their needs and priorities, each Party should, as appropriate, and subject to its national legislation, take measures to protect and promote Farmers 'Rights, including:

 
  • protection of traditional knowledge relevant to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture,
  • the right to equitably participate in benefit-sharing arising for the utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture,
  • the right to participate in making decisions, at the national level, on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

 
IPRs: The Privatisation of Biodiversity and Biodiversity Related Knowledge

 
The thrust of the western IPR regimes in the area of biodiversity is diametrically opposed to indigenous knowledge systems. Knowledge is considered to be the product of individual creativity. Based on western scientific thought and systems of knowledge creation and gathering whereby the resource base is merely viewed as 'raw material'. In this paradigm IPRs represent the property rights to the products of mind, thereby resulting in knowledge and creativity being so narrowly defined that the creativity of nature and non-western knowledge systems have been ignored.

 
The two categories of IPRs that have a direct impact on the erosion of prior rights of communities, are patents and plant breeders' rights. Plant breeders rights negate the contribution of Third World farmers as breeders and hence undermine farmers' rights. Patents allow the usurpation of indigenous knowledge as a western invention through minor tinkering or trivial translation.

 
The UPOV (Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plant) Convention represents a western devised form of plant, variety protection, other than patenting. This form of Intellectual property rights protection, referred to as a Plant Breeders' Right (PBR), is being promoted as the most favorable form of adoption under the sui
generis option for developing nations by the developed nations. But according to the 1991 Revision of the UPOV Convention, newly introduced clauses severely restrict farmers' rights by removing all rights for them to save seed for sowing for the following year, as well as removing researchers' rights to save the seed of new protected varieties, The protected variety may still be used as an initial source of variation for the creation of new varieties but such new varieties cannot be marketed or sold without the plant breeders' rights' holder allowing it.

 
There now exists very little difference in restrictions set by Plant Breeders' Rights and that set by patents for farmers. UPOV is a monopoly system that embodies the philosophy of the industrialized north who want to protect the interests of corporate biotechnology and powerful seed companies. If we do not evolve our own sui
generis system centered on community intellectual rights of farmers and adopt the UPOV model, a rights regime will be created that protects the rights of the seed industry but offers no protection to the rights of farmers. This in turn will allow a free flow of agricultural biodiversity based on centuries of breeding from the fields of farmers, while the farmers have to pay royalties to the seed industry for the varieties derived from farmers' varieties,

 
A frequent comment heard in scientific and lay circles, is that "we should patent all our traditional knowledge and biodiversity". However, neither traditional knowledge nor biodiversity can be patented by indigenous practitioners because for indigenous societies, it is not 'novel', it is ancient. The reason that the collective and cumulative innovation of millions of people of thousands of years can be 'pirated' and claimed as an 'innovation' of western trained scientists or corporations, is because of two reasons. The first reason is the colonial hangover of the idea that science is unique to the west, and indigenous knowledge systems cannot be treated as scientific.The second reason is that countries like the US, where most pirated indigenous innovations are filed for patenting, do not recognise the existing knowledge of other countries is prior art. Thus, while patent regimes offer no protection to indigenous communities for their common innovation and their common resources, they allow the appropriation of their biodiversity and knowledge by scientists and commercial interests of other cultures, including members of the 'modern' scientific culture in their own societies.

 
IPRs As An Instrument of Piracy

 
IPR regimes in the context of 'free trade' and 'trade liberalization' thus become instruments of piracy at three levels:
Resource piracy in which the biological and natural resources of communities and the country are freely taken, without recognition or permission, and are used to build up global economies. For example, the transfer of basmati varieties of rice from India to build up the rice economy of the US; the free flow of neem seeds from the farms, fields and commons to corporations like W. R. Grace for export.

 
Intellectual and cultural piracy in which the cultural and intellectual heritage of communities and the country is freely taken without recognition or permission and is used for claiming IPRs such as patents, and trademarks even though the primary innovation and creativity has not taken place through corporate investment. For instance, the use by US corporations of the trade name 'basmati' for their aromatic rice, or Pepsi's use of the trade name' Bikaneri Bhujia'.

 
Economic piracy in which the domestic and international markets are usurped through the use of trade names and IPRs, thereby destroying local economies and national economies where the original innovation took place and hence wiping out the livelihoods and economic survival of millions. For example. US rice traders usurping European markets; Grace usurping the US market from small scale Indian producers of neem based biopesticides.

 
Common Property Rights: An Alternative to IPRs
IPRs systems evolved in industrialised countries reflected in the TRIPs agreement only recognise western knowledge systems as scientific and formal and non-western knowledge systems are regarded as unscientific and informal. The creation of monopoly rights to biodiversity utilisation through its claim to the creation of 'novelty' can have serious implications for erosion of national and community rights to biodiversity and devaluation of indigenous knowledge. TRIPs gives countries the option of formulating its own sui
generis regime for plants as an alternative to patent protection. Collective rights can be a strong candidate for such sui
generis systems for agricultural biodiversity and medicinal plant biodiversity. Therefore, it is crucial that community held and utilised biodiversity knowledge systems are accorded legal recognition as the 'common property' owned by the communities concerned. Building such an alternative is essential to prevent biodiversity and knowledge monopolization by an unbalanced mechanistic and non-innovative implementation of TRIPs or in response to Special 301 threats from the US.

 
Bangladesh Perspectives

 
The draft legislation on Biodiversity and Community Knowledge Protection Act of Bangladesh, 1998 is a positive step forward towards implementation of obligations to the parties of Convention on Biological Diversity. But more things have still to be done. There is need of elaboration of detail outline of capacity building and stocktaking with regards to access to genetic resources, fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of genetic resources, traditional and community knowledge, transfer of technology issues related to bioprospecting of biodiversity, The stocktaking may include assessments of the current legislative and regulatory frameworks on access to genetic resources, evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of the country's institutional and different stakeholders, which includes particularly scientific, technological and administrative setups.

 
The following recommendations are made from S & T point of views for national capacity building in the draft legislation on Biodiversity and community knowledge Protection Action Act:

 
  1. In order to identify the components of biological diversity (Article 7 of CBD), there is need of extensive programme taxonomy study for preparing national biological inventory. As such these need of taxonomy Institutions where global linkage may be established with the Global taxonomy Initiatives and other global networking like Bionet-International and DIVERSITAS.
  2. Traditional taxonomic system offers a valuable perspective of biological diversity and should be considered part of total taxonomic knowledge, Hence, a comprehensive survey on community knowledge should be immediately taken as in India for preparing Community Biodivesity Registers.
  3. The possibility of establishment of a full fledge Biodiversity Institute of Bangladesh (BIB) at national level may be seriously considered in line with the example of Costa Rica. The National Biodiversity as envisaged in the Biodiversity and Community Knowledge Protection Act of Bangladesh, 1998 may be housed in the BIB to administer and pursue R & D activities on biodiversity.
  4. The Biodiveristy Action Plan (Article 6 of CBD) should be very comprehensive taking in view of the S & T and R & D aspects of biodiversity, genetic resources and community knowledge thereof.
  5. There may be a Science, Technology and Technical advice Committee on Biodiversity to deal and implement with complex, scientific, technical and technological issues of biodiversity as envisaged in CBD and other related International laws/ Conventions in line with Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of DBD Secretariat.
  6. There is also need of integration of biodiversity, bioprospecting and IPR regimes with the other national sectoral planning in the context of sustainable natural resource management.
  7. The issues of biopiracy in Bangladesh needs to be attended seriously as in the case of other developing countries like Philippines. To this end, declaring soverigniity over national biodiversity and bioresources through enactment is an immediate task. Then, the personnels of administation, law enforcing agency(s), customs and other concerned stakeholders need to be imparted training to to protect biodiversity and stop or apprehension of biopiracy.
  8. International linkage and collaboration on the part of R&D organisations, Universities and respective govt agencies with different scientific and multilateral organisations/Programmes/Networks such as GTI, GRAIN, GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) should be developed.

 
Farmers Right

 
Means to achieve farmer's right include

 
  1. Free choice of and access to germplasm
  2. Freedom to sell harvested produce
  3. Freedom to improve cultivars
  4. The ability to influence future breeding efforts
  5. Access to technologies and training
  6. The ability of farming communities to control access to agrobiodiversity under their custodianship
  7. The economic incentive to continue to conserve agrobiodiversity
  8. Recognition of past and present achievements

 

 

 

 
Biodiversity and Community Knowledge Protection Act of Bangladesh.

 
The draft "Biodiversity and Community Knowledge Protection Act of Bangladesh" deals primarily with community knowledge, collective innovation, and community rights.

 
The Act shall be the principal instrument to guide, inform, determine, control, reinterpret and give effect, where necessary, to the rights and privileges granted, if any, to innovations of any form that have used natural and biological resources including knowledge and culture of the country or of other countries with which Bangladesh has reciprocal recognition of similar acts, ordinances, or laws.

 
This Act shall include all biological and genetic resources and related knowledge and their derivatives within the jurisdiction of the country, both in situ and ex situ.

 
Plant Varieties Act of Bangladesh

 
Important Features:

 
To be eligible for protection, a variety must be new, have consistent specific traits, be stable and have distinctive specific traits,
Breeding alone is not sufficient to justify commercial privileges, The
variety must have "immediate, direct, and substantial benefit to the people of Bangladesh."

 
Hybrids may only be protected if the parents are available as community varieties in the public domain.

 
Any variety that may lead to genetic or cultural erosion shall not be protected.
Transgenics are subject to further legislation.

 
All varieties that are developed in any national public research institute (universities, national agricultural research centres, etc.) shall be considered the property of the people of Bangladesh, i.e. "common property". The same holds for farmer – or NGO-developed varieties created through the use of public funds (development cooperation funds). In these cases, the Citation of Award shall replace a plant variety protection (PVP) certificate.
PVP is not available to nationals or juristic persons of countries that are not a party to the Convention of Biological Diversity.

 
The country of origin of the material used to develop the variety shall be disclosed.
Where a community variety, indigenous plant variety, or wild plant variety has been used in developing a protected variety, 25% of the revenue accruing from its commercialization shall be shared.

 
Periods of protection are 7 years for annuals, 10 years for biennials, 15 years for perennials, and 25 years for woody species.

 
There is a citation or recognition system to award innovators who wish to register their innovations without claiming commercial privilege or protection for personal gain.

 
Community rights and farmers' right are substantively provided for.
A Plant Variety Development Fund shall be established for support.

 
Recommendations:

 
The following suggestions are therefore being made for implementing the Intellectual Property Rights in Biotechnology :
  1. Biotechnology is the modern science in which biological organisms – plants, microbes by or animals are utilized for technological development to derive goods and service upto the maximum possible level. The principle weapon behind this technology is the DNA or genes which already exist in nature but have been engineered from one organisms to the other (may be totally unrelated) to derive the desired benefit out of it. Therefore, question arises whether the output of this technology should be categorized as 'inventions' and fall within 'Intellectual' principles. Intellectual Property Rights in Biotechnology should therefore be judiciously applied.
  2. Living organisms are able to reproduce themselves even if they are patented. With regard to this special quality of living organisms the scope of a patent is difficult to define. This makes it nearly impossible to find a balance between public and private interest.
  3. Patenting of living organisms could conflict with the provisions of international treaties such as the convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  4. Privatization of life forms through any intellectual property rights regime violated the basis right of life and goes counter to the respect for life and as such should be avoided.
  5. In view of multinational corporation's greed to plunder the biological resources of the developing and least developed countries for use as raw material for biotechnology products and processes, it is essential to develop legislation urgently to regulate access to indigenous biological resources, knowledge and technologies so that such access is strictly regulated.
  6. The review process for the Article 27.3 b of TRIPS should maintain that plants, animals and micro organisms as well as their genetic material be excluded from patenting, as they belong in whole or part to nature and as such they are not invented.
  7. Utilization of genetic resources should be aimed at sharing of benefits by all concerned both by the conservators of biodiversity and their subsequent utilizers. Therefore, method other than 'Patents' have to be found out in order to achieve a balanced system for protecting both intellectual property and the common heritage of mankind.
  8. The responsibility for realising Farmers' Rights as they relate to Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture rests with national governments. This has been agreed by FAO and the guidelines for such protection could be:-

 
  • Protection of traditional knowledge relevant to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
  • The right to equitably participate in benefit sharing arising for the utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

 
  1. For Bangladesh a Biodiversity and Community Knowledge Act Protection has been prepared. This should be given serious consideration and an action plan should be chalked out as per its enacted proposals.
  2. For applying TRIPS agreement the major concern is about the domination of seed trade by multinationals. It is feared that the resultant monopolies will lead to an increase in seed prices and restrict the flow of gemplasm. In addition, new varieties will not be freely available and local capability of adapting seeds to local conditions will be affected.
  3. Like seed similar concern is with the fertilizers. New strains of micro organisms like Rhizobilum and Blue Green algae could be patented but these would become the exclusive monopoly of the multinational firms which in the long run cause potential dangers in agriculture as with the case of seed.
  4. The most potential danger with the TRIPS agreement is with the threat to Biodiversity. Developing countries have inadequate system of registration. Wild germplasm, plant and animal varieties are stolen and patented as inventions.

 

 
Conclusion

 
Finally, in exercising the Intellectual Property Rights in Biotechnology one thing should be borne in mind that the principal aim of Biotechnological research is the welfare of mankind vis-a-vis the deteriorating condition of the world economy particularly of the developing countries. Overpopulation coupled with shortage of agricultural land has put the developing countries in a very awkward position. There is no other alternative but to take shelter to new technologies which can lead us to a quantum jump in yield on process development. Biotechnology is such a technology in Biological Science which can give us definite hope in this respect. But, the fear has arisen due to too privatization of this area of science during recent times. Privatization is always dominated by profit making goals. The welfare of human being is a secondary consideration in a private organisation however liberal it might be. Therefore, the only alternative to get rid of this danger is to invest more and more money in the Public sector by the national governments. This may overcome the fears or dangers that are being foreseen or forecasted for Biotechnological research in Private Sector and its IPR issues.

 

1 comment:

  1. Having read your article i found it to be very educative and interesting. However i have a question on how IPR is important for biotechnology?

    ReplyDelete