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Patently Absurd

The curious case of Ebola patents

Issue Date: Aug 31, 2014
As the deadly Ebola virus spreads in West Africa taking a lethal toll with its hemorrhagic fever, curious reports are emerging of the patents the US holds on a certain strain of the virus and the interest of its Department of Defence in developing a vaccine with a Canadian biotech firm. The details are sketchy but indicate an overwhelming American interest in Ebola.

Jugaad of Indian innovation

Issue Date: Aug 15, 2014
Nothing perhaps sums up India so well as jugaad. A Hindi word that means a makeshift solution or a creative improvisation, jugaad is the science, art and philosophy of what makes India tick. Need a critical part for your fancy imported washing machine? The resourceful electrician will do a jugaad with a local thingummy and make it work. Have a problem with your vintage car’s radiator?

In praise of open-source innovation

Issue Date: Jul 31, 2014
Everyone is talking about India’s sharp critique of the global patents regime at the WTO TRIPS Council meeting in mid-June. It was a well-argued and forceful presentation that made a strong case for open-source innovation and slammed the mania for intellectual property rights as end in itself. TRIPS is the acronym for the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (IPRs) that was bulldozed through by rich nations in 1994 and has been used by them to bully and badger developing countries to seek rents for patents and IPRs.

A deadly virus of patenting

Issue Date: Jul 15, 2014

Drained royally by MNCs

Issue Date: Jun 30, 2014
NEWSPAPERS have leapt with delight on the statement by Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) that it “firmly believes that the patent law in India is very strong” and that it is “at par with the international standards”. In the wake of the aggressive campaign launched by the US and its powerful industry lobbies against India’s intellectual property rights (IPR) regime, New Delhi has been snatching at endorsements of its law by US multinationals. The latest to do so, after Boeing, Abbott and Honeywell, is MSI.

The India effect

Issue Date: Jun 15, 2014

Left sees red over Marx copyright

Issue Date: May 31, 2014
There is outrage, fury and indignation—but no revolution, of course—in the rarefied world of Marxist intellectuals. A whole lot of them are in a lather over the taking down of Marx and Engel’s collected works from a popular Marxist website because of copyright issues.

Standing up to the US

Issue Date: May 15, 2014
India has been holding up pretty well under sustained pressure from the world’s largest trading country. Despite all the heavy artillery that the powerful industry lobbies in the US, especially of big pharma, have brought into play, New Delhi has remained unruffled, relying more on reasoned rebuttals to counter their misleading propaganda that India does not protect intellectual property.

Annihilation of caste and copyright claims

Issue Date: Apr 30, 2014
With the recent publication of a new edition of B R (Babasaheb) Ambedkar’s searing work, Annihilation of Caste (AoC) there is furious debate over the “appropriation” of one of India’s most significant thinkers by those beyond the pale. The unseemly furore has been occasioned by the fact that neither the publisher of the annotated critical edition of AoC Siriyavan Anand of Navayana nor Arundhati Roy, who has written a solid 124-page introduction, titled The Doctor and the Saint, is a Dalit.

Patently hollow claims of the US

Issue Date: Mar 31, 2014
The battle has been joined—although not as evenly as one would wish. The relentless US assault on India’s regulatory policies, in particular those dealing with intellectual property rights (IPRs), has evoked a sharp riposte from global organisations and academics who maintain that New Delhi’s policies are fully compliant with international trade requirements.
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