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IP-Watch interns talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

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Ten Questions About Internet Governance

On April 23 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the “Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance,” also known as “NETmundial” in an allusion to the global football event that will occur later in that country, will be convened. Juan Alfonso Fernández González of the Cuban Communications Ministry and a veteran of the UN internet governance meetings, raises 10 questions that need to be answered at NETmundial.


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    Plant Variety Protection Meets Resistance in Developing Countries; Consultations Coming

    Published on 4 February 2013 @ 4:08 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    Plant variety protection has raised concerns in Africa and in Latin America, and further developments are expected in 2013.

    The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) has proposed a draft regional harmonised policy and legal framework on plant variety protection based on the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) Convention of 1991, according to a media release of a number of African civil society organisations in November.

    The draft ARIPO legal framework for the protection of new varieties of plants is here [pdf].

    The signatories are concerned about “significant adverse consequences for small-scale farmers that dominate the agricultural landscape of ARIPO member states, as well as for food security, agricultural biodiversity, and national sovereignty in Africa.”

    The legal framework could facilitate the “theft of African germplasm and privatization of seed breeding,” according to the release, “but it would restrict the offer of the seed market to commercially protected varieties, jeopardising farmers’ rights to freely use, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds.”

    Mariam Mayet, director of the African Centre for Biosafety, told Intellectual Property Watch that after several unsuccessful communications with ARIPO, the African Centre for Biosafety wrote to the new director general on 23 January requesting information and a response to their November submission. Fernando Dos Santos was appointed as fifth director general of ARIPO, taking effect on 1 January 2013.

    The answer from ARIPO [pdf] was swiftly received on the following day, Mayet said. It said that during the 36th Session of the Administrative Council of ARIPO, held in Zanzibar, Tanzania, from 26-30 November, “the Draft PVP Policy of ARIPO was thoroughly discussed by the Council. Many comments received from different interested parties were also examined by the Council.”

    “The Council at the end of its deliberations took note of the revised legal framework for the protection of New Varieties of Plants and directed the ARIPO Secretariat to hold national and regional consultations in the year 2013,” said the letter. Those consultations will open the draft policy “to further debate, examination, revisions,” it said, and create more awareness so that it can be adopted.

    According to the release, the legal framework has been developed by ARIPO in consultation with several stakeholders such as CIOPORA, the African Seed Trade Association, the French National Seed and Seedling Association, as well as the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the European Community Plant Variety Office, without the participation of farmers, farmer movements, and civil society organisations.

    On the other side of the Atlantic, in Colombia, the Constitutional Court declared [php in Spanish] unconstitutional UPOV 91 in December, according to an informed source. In its release, the court found that indigenous and afro-Colombian peoples should have been consulted before approving Act 1518 of 2012

    According to GRAIN, a civil society group, the accession of Colombia to UPOV 91 was an obligation for the country to join the USColombia Trade Promotion Agreement.

    According to the court’s release, Colombian laws make compulsory the preliminary consultation of indigenous people and tribes about legislative and administrative measures that would affect them directly, since it is a fundamental right of ethnic minorities. Such consultations are mandatory by virtue of Colombian law and omission of this requirement in the legislative process constitutes a violation of the constitution, it said.

    In the case of UPOV 91, the court ruled that Indigenous and afro-Colombian communities should have been consulted prior to the adoption of Act 1518 of 2012, as this international convention directly regulates essential aspects affecting these communities, in their capacity of breeders of plant varieties the intellectual property of which is being protected, such as criteria to be recognised as a plant breeder, the grant of the breeders’ right, duration and conditions of the protection, financial regulation and the value of improving or multiplying plant varieties, many of which constitute the traditional knowledge of these peoples.

    According to the court, the types of restrictions that would be imposed by a patent on new plant varieties under UPOV 91 could hamper the natural development of biodiversity, which is the result of the particular ethnic, cultural and ecosystem conditions in which these peoples live. Therefore, the court ruled unconstitutional Act 1518 of 2012 and its unenforceability.

    According to the informed source, the final decision of the Constitutional Court has not been published yet. He said the government is expected to start a process of consultation with indigenous and afro-Colombian peoples.

     

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

     


    Leave a Reply

    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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