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9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

The Politicization Of The US Patent System

The Washington Post story, How patent reform’s fraught politics have left USPTO still without a boss (July 30), is a vivid account of how patent reform has divided the US economy, preempting a possible replacement for David Kappos who stepped down 18 months ago. The division is even bigger than portrayed. Universities have lined up en masse to oppose reform, while main street businesses that merely use technology argue for reform. Reminiscent of the partisan divide that has paralyzed US politics, this struggle crosses party lines and extends well beyond the usual inter-industry debates. Framed in terms of combating patent trolls through technical legal fixes, there lurks a broader economic concern – to what extent ordinary retailers, bank, restaurants, local banks, motels, realtors, and travel agents should bear the burden of defending against patents as a cost of doing business.


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    Serageldin: IPR Adaptation Needed To Help Innovation Reach Small Farmers

    Published on 19 November 2012 @ 11:50 am

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The director of the Library of Alexandria, Egypt, invited to speak about innovation and food security at the World Intellectual Property Organization last week, said science should reach small farmers in order face the challenge of global food security and increase agricultural yields. He also called for the IP regime to be tailored to serve that purpose.

    The WIPO Global Challenges Seminar Series “serves as an informal forum for sharing ideas, expertise and information on meeting global challenges,” according to the WIPO website. On 16 November, the theme was Innovation, Food Security and Rural Development: Collaboration and Partnerships.

    For this topic, WIPO invited Ismail Serageldin, the embattled (IPW, Developing Country Policy, 6 November 2011) director of the Library of Alexandria, a former chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and World Bank vice-president, to give a presentation.

    This is the third session of the series, following sessions on climate change and public health (IPW, WIPO, 28 June 2012).

    Serageldin told the meeting that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) “are not doing too well” on the reduction of global hunger. Among the factors hindering hunger reduction is climate change, with increased floods and droughts, but the primary cause of hunger is extreme poverty, he said.

    Bringing the prices of food down means that agricultural productivity should be increased, but in a sustainable manner, and innovation is one of the key to solving the problem, he said. In the face of the growing global population, food production will have to increase by 70 percent by 2050, using the same amount of water, he said.

    The focus should be on small farmers in developing countries, he said, noting that “practically all rural poor” still buy their food. There is a need to transform the production function in rural areas, and improve the nutritional content of food. In order to reduce prices without harming poor farmers, productivity has to increase faster than the decline of prices, and at the same time market access has to be improved and post-harvest losses reduced, he said, adding, “We need a new green revolution.”

    However, research cannot be “kept locked up” in Monsanto and other multinational corporations, he said. Science should be brought to small farmers and not only to the “enormous soya fields of Brazil.”

    Serageldin also stressed that one key factor to address the issue was to realise the gender dimension, and the need to address the “enormous discrimination against women,” who in Africa “produce about 80 percent of food, receive 10 percent of the wages and own 1 percent of the land,” although those figures have been contested, he said.

    The United States and the European Union “have done a criminal act” with the first generation of biofuels, he said, impacting corn and maize production. “It is wrong to burn the food of the poor to drive the cars of the rich,” he said. So shifting to a second generation of biofuels is necessary, and science must be mobilised and partnerships encouraged, he said.

    On average, developing countries invest 220 times less resources in research than developed countries, he said, and if nothing is done, this will equal a scientific apartheid, he added. The so-called Green Revolution of the 1960s and 70s transformed production, he said, produced more food using less land, saving forest and biodiversity.

    Biotech neither a Silver Bullet, Nor a Demon

    Today, Serageldin said, there is a need to go to more genetically diverse crops, reduce the use of chemicals, rely more on natural pest control, integrate land and water management, take into account the gender dimension, promote alternatives to “slash and burn” ground clearing, and reduce post-harvest losses.

    In order to close the yield gap and find out what is causing losses, it is necessary to help farmers, “preferably by biological control rather than pesticides, working with nature rather than working against it,” he said. Biotechnology raises issues but despite controversy, it holds “enormous promise,” he said, as it can do things that could not be achieved by conventional breeding, like getting vitamin A into rice, referring to what is commonly known as golden rice.

    [Update:] Golden rice, which after a decade of research is expected to reach markets this year, according to sources, has long been at the centre of a controversy, with some civil society claiming doubtful nutritional results and a wrong answer to malnutrition, such as GMWatch in 2011, or the recent Foodwatch report 2012 titled “Golden Lies,” [pdf] which alleges poor risk assessment. Any risks posed by the cultivation or consumption of Golden Rice have been largely ignored, it said.

    Issues in biotechnology involve intellectual property, ethics and safety, he said, but these are issues that are not insurmountable. Biotechnology “is neither a silver bullet nor a demon,” and scientists are the most able to produce the innovation required. This is where collaboration and partnerships are needed, he said.

    “What WIPO can do is really help in the patent regime to facilitate collaboration with developing countries’ scientists,” he said. If the IP regime, “which is driven by large corporations in the United States, for farming in particular,” can be made to be more compatible, he said, “we will be able to transform global agriculture.”

    “We should dare to dream,” he concluded. Hunger can be abolished and “the world must move beyond the wild capitalism that exists today.”

    Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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