UPOV Meetings Conclude With New Observers; Tanzania Can Become UPOV Member

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The international body protecting new varieties of plants concluded a week-long set of meetings with a number of decisions, among which was the re-appointment of its secretary general, and the addition of an international organisation and a farmers’ organisation as observers. The national legislation on plant breeders of Zanzibar was approved, opening the way for Tanzania to become a UPOV member.

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

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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]

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

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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.

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.

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

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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).

Flexible IPR Approach For European Joint Innovation Projects

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Applicants to the European “Innovation Communities” initiative have until 10 September to submit joint innovation proposals in the areas of healthy aging and raw materials. The aim is to create new organisations compliant with the European grant programme Horizon 2020, which will operate under flexible intellectual property rights’ policies in collaborative innovation projects.

WHO Raises Its Voice To Underline Health Effects Of Climate Change

The World Health Organization this week is holding its first conference on health and climate change. The major objective of the conference is to raise awareness on the impact of climate change on health, according to the WHO, which said it aims to strengthen its voice in the debate.

EU-Funded Platform Connects SMEs, Researchers On Green Tech

A European Union-funded initiative is seeking to strengthen the links between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the research community on environmental technologies.

With 51 Ratifications, Nagoya Protocol To Enter Into Force In October

The Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources will enter into force on 12 October, following the ratification of 12 more countries last week.