The TPP’s New Plant-Related Intellectual Property Provisions

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The newly-released Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) intellectual property (IP) chapter would help seed conglomerates like Monsanto prevent farmers from saving and using seeds that contain patented plant materials, even when such use is for their own personal consumption. The TPP language would also prevent breeders from using plants seeds that contain patented plant materials to research and develop new varieties. Most plant variety protection (PVP) systems allow farmers to save and reuse seeds (for noncommercial purposes) and permit breeders to use protected plant varieties to research and develop new varieties. In contrast, patents on plant-related inventions, as outlined in the TPP, may have few exceptions. This new text constitutes a huge step in the wrong direction, changing the plant IP regimes of many of the negotiating countries to the detriment of their populations, writes Public Citizen.

Preparations Begin For Lisbon Revision At WIPO; Procedural Question Raised

AO - Brie de Meaux - Flickr - Leo Reynolds

The 28-member Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration is en route to being revised to include geographical indications and allow international organisations to join the agreement. But some other member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organization, which oversees the agreement, are raising procedural questions and intend on having a say on the revision. [Update: new proposal now available]

EU Legislation On Nagoya Protocol Becomes Effective; What Effect On Indigenous Peoples’ Rights?

Indigenous Community - Flickr - United Nations

The entry into force of an international treaty facilitating access to genetic resources and ensuring the fair sharing of potential commercial benefits has prompted the applicability of a European Union regulation relating to the treaty. This led a researcher to call on the treaty members to ensure its implementation protects the rights of indigenous and local communities.

UPOV Governing Body Meets This Week Amid Civil Society Concerns Over Harmonisation

Plant Variety - Flickr - Dwight Sipler

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is holding meetings of its governing and technical bodies this week. In particular, the UPOV Council is expected to renew Francis Gurry’s mandate as the organisation’s secretary-general, approve technical documents, and confirm the conformity of a Tanzanian plant breeders’ rights act.

Meanwhile, civil society has sounded the alarm over what it considers to be efforts to harmonise the application and examination procedures by the seed industry. Separately, a civil society study, carried out on three developing countries claims that UPOV 1991 might be threatening the global right to food.

Nagoya Protocol Enters Into Force, Will Be Tested In Months To Come

Rain Forest - Flickr - Sue Bowen

The Nagoya Protocol, a treaty expected to ensure greater access to genetic resources and a mandatory fair benefit-sharing of the benefits that could be derived from those resources, will enter into force on 12 October, almost four years after it was agreed.

Alarm Over Monsanto-Backed Push To Acquire African Seed Company

Maize seeds - Flickr - Ian Hayhurst

An African civil society group has voiced concerns about the takeover by giant multinational seed companies of home-grown African seed companies, the latest of which involves Africa’s SeedCo.

Inauspicious Start To Gurry’s Second Term As IP Policymaking Hits Wall At WIPO

General Assembly Chair, Amb. Päivi Kairamo

To hear some delegates’ late night closing statements at the General Assembly last night, developing country goals at the World Intellectual Property Organization died this week, as key issues met roadblocks in every direction. But all member states claimed to be shaken by the crash of WIPO’s normative agenda this week, putting the model for negotiating at the UN agency into question.

Lisbon Agreement Members To Move Ahead With Treaty Talks Despite Resistance

WIPO - Catherine Saez (7)

The revision of a World Intellectual Property Organization agreement to include geographical indications, raising their status, was challenged in vain by some countries in the past week. In addition, this week’s WIPO General Assembly has been working intensively on a range of other issues.

NGOs: Farmers’ Rights Should Be Safeguarded In Activities Of Plant Treaty, WIPO, UPOV

Agriculture - Catherine Saez (1)

Over 50 organisations have co-signed a letter to the International Plant Treaty calling for it to safeguard the implementation of farmers’ rights in the context of joint activities with the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).

Lisbon GI Revision A Hot Topic As Members Prepare For Treaty Talks

EU GI logo

A proposed amendment to the Lisbon Agreement protecting appellations of origin at the World Intellectual Property Organization is the object of heated discussions between proponents of geographical indications and countries favouring other systems such as trademarks to protect such intellectual property titles. A side event to this week’s WIPO General Assemblies gathered GI proponents to ponder the future of the agreement.