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Patently Absurd

Big step for biocultural rights

Issue Date: Oct 31, 2014
As the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) got under way in Pyeongchang in the Republic of Korea it had a momentous achievement to celebrate. CBD’s top decision-making body kicked off its meeting on October 6, just days ahead of the Nagoya Protocol coming into force on October 12.

Pursuing a nationalist IPR policy

Issue Date: Oct 15, 2014
IT was an unexpected announcement that conveyed a strong message. “We are very strong in IPR (intellectual property rights) and we want to protect our national interest. That does not mean we are going to be regressive or restrictive, but it is the duty and right of the government to protect the IPR of our country.” That was Union minister for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman at a recent meeting where she outlined the objectives her ministry had set for itself.

ICAR chases patents for pickle

Issue Date: Sep 30, 2014
If there is a quintessential Andhra dish, it is gongura. This is a sour, leafy plant—usually described as sorrel (hibiscus sabdariffa) and sometimes as roselle—that is added to traditional dishes of the Andhra cuisine to give these an unmatched zing.

Tesla's `insane' move to free up patents

Issue Date: Sep 15, 2014
Perhaps only Elon Musk could have done this. After all, only a revolutionary can set off a revolution. Musk is an engineer-turned-entrepreneur who has set up impossible businesses—an electric car company, Tesla, and a rocket building company, SpaceX.

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
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