ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Intellectual Property Rights and Food: Is the TRIPS Agreement in India’s Favour?

Protecting the right of innovators and adhering to the universal right to food security is a delicate dance that India must seriously reflect on if it is to sustain any meaningful position in the international trading arena.

Dadaji Khobragade

In a life that epitomised the struggles of the small Indian farmer, Dadaji Khobragade, the prolific rice breeder and farmer, strove against all odds to practise and uphold the core of traditional farming.

Two Countries, One Corporation and Its Intellectual Property Rights

Monsanto is known to throw tantrums when it does not get the kind of protection it wants from governments for its intellectual property assets, threatening to leave countries if they do not provide it. This has happened in Argentina and now in India. These may look like country-specific disputes on genetically modified seed technologies, but there is much more than what meets the eye.

GATS and Trade in Audio-Visuals

The history of negotiations on trade in audio-visuals (AV) at GATS has been complicated with some countries belonging to the EU, France in particular, and Canada adopting a â??cultural exception' clause and calling for trade in AV to be treated differently from trade in other goods and services. The US, as the pre-eminent producer of mass mediated culture, has taken a pro-trade line. India, which is a producer of cultural commodities in its own right, has been forced to open its doors to US film industry not only as a result of GATS, but also as a result of Section 301 measures taken by the USTR.

Perspectives on Copyright

Just how much leeway do writers/producers have under the law to freely use ideas from published works and films without acknowledgement?

Conferring `Moral Rights' on Actors

The Manisha Koirala case has served to highlight the absence of protection to film actors in the Indian Copyright Act. Indian film stars have a global fan-following which translates into considerable commercial value. It is important that their on-screen image be protected. Such legal protection can be afforded by conferring `moral rights' - the right to be acknowledged as the creator of a work and the right to prevent distortion/mutilation of one's work.

Drug Policy 2002: Prescription for Symptoms

The new drug policy is a hotchpotch of measures that do not address the many problems typical to the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Its prescriptions - whether with regard to price control, MAPE or FDI regulations - do not take into cognisance the differentiated nature of the sector in India and may well affect the industry negatively in the long run.

Ensuring 'Safe Use' of Biotechnology: Key Challenges

Governing safe use of biotechnology in agriculture is a controversial new regulatory challenge facing developing countries such as India. This article identifies short- and longterm challenges to biosafety governance in India and emphasises the need for institutional mechanisms to ensure that use of biotechnology can fulfil desired societal goals. Although biosafety regimes are critical, they cannot substitute for broad institutional fora to debate the social implications of the use of biotechnology in agriculture.

Biotech Science, Biotech Business

Policy makes great claims about the future possibilities of the biotech industry in Karnataka. This paper tries to dissect the hype from reality to understand whether biotech can really be a key answer to broader development challenges through a systematic examination of the range of different biotech science enterprises in Bangalore and what is being produced now.

Plant Variety Protection and Farmers' Rights

Proprietary claims have played an indelible role in drafting legislation relating to plant variety protection and have since assumed significance in various national and international forums. The Indian response to the issue of proprietary claims, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Bill, passed by parliament last autumn establishes plant breeder rights granting the holder exclusive rights for a specified period, but juxtaposes this by recognising farmers' claims to plant varieties. This article explores the issue of proprietary claims, and laws framed in its recognition, as emerging from an interplay of international frameworks and domestic law-making processes, as well as the interaction of the politico-economic structure with a variety of actors.

India's Policy on IPRs and Agriculture

Though the farmer's rights concept is still weak as it is currently stated in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture adopted by 116 countries, including India, under the FAO last month, India and other developing countries could use the negotiations to establish an international concept of farmer's rights. India could strengthen its own legislation in this regard by coordinating its efforts with those of other countries.

TRIPS and India's Pharmaceuticals Industry

Major changes can be expected in the Indian pharmaceuticals industry from 2005 due to the agreement on TRIPS, under which India will be required to introduce product patents for pharmaceutical products. This will likely lead to sharp increases in the prices of newly patented drugs. Although the TRIPS agreement may also lead to increased research on diseases common in developing countries, these benefits can be obtained in alternative ways, and without high costs. Thus, the TRIPS agreement is not in the national interest and should be renegotiated.

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