Sunday, January 17, 2010

Intellectual Property Regime and the Development of Orissa

Due to fast growth of biotechnological research units at different parts of world, coming days will witness more of development of transgenics that can meet the challenges due to climatic changes, environment pollution and enhanced production from unit land. This will definitely boost the growth of Intellectual Property (IP) in the state. Since technologies are now available for transfer of gene across taxa and there is greater scope for genetic manipulation, 21st century will witness trade of gene across boundary. Protection to traditional knowledge associated with agriculture is also required to forestall any attempt by other institutions/countries from acquiring illegal rights on them.

 

Orissa being a gene rich state can derive full advantage from this trade provided suitable measures are taken for conservation and protection of genetic resources. Similar steps need to be taken in case animal, fish, and microbial genetic resources. This can be achieved through systematic survey, collection and publication in appropriate media including the digital ones. Through the genetic manipulation of different crop species and their wild relatives either conventionally or through biotechnological approach, the state can produce wide array of plant varieties/transgenics for commercial exploitation.

 

 

Orissa rich in agro-biodiversity has vast potential for plant variety development. Being the hot spot of rice and many other crops including medicinal plants, cucurbits. brinjal, pulses, the state is rich in genetic resources. Orissa being a state-known for its excellence in art and craft and traditional knowledge can take this opportunity in its favour. Government has already initiated steps for the registration of Kotpad Saree and Baragarh Saree dying technology under this act to protect the interest of producers of these two GI. Similar scope exists in the field of agriculture that needs to be identified and steps need to be taken for their registration at GI Registry Chennai.

 

This will enhance the export potential of agricultural goods services and provide protection against misuse of GI by unscrupulous traders/unauthorized users. Literary creations, musical works, dramatic works, sculptural works, motion pictures, computer software, gene sequences etc. can be protected under copyright Act. Wealth can be generated from their protection and exploitation in the trade and commerce.

 

Enforcement of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Right Act-2001 and initiation of registration of plant varieties since February 2007 provides scope of not only registering the extant plant varieties of the state developed by public/private R & D, units but also registration of farmers' variety developed by the farming community. Any community/group of farmers, farmer's society, claiming to be the breeder and successor of breeder of any farmer's variety can register their variety (ies) and derive full commercial benefit from their trade. Funds are being provided from the national gene fund for rewarding gene saviours and for conservation of threatened genetic resources. State government should initiate appropriate steps in this regard so as to take full advantages of different provisions of the PPV and FR Act. Geographical indications (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 provides protection (Gl) to geographical indications of the country.

 

Besides the act has also made provision to recognize and reward farmers/farming communities who have played the role of saviour of the genetic resources of any crop/species through their age old effort in conserving, maintaining the traditional varieties, land races and agro-biodiversity of crops.  Steps to boost such kind of activity and protection to both existing and new creations and exploiting them in commerce will definitely help to improve the economic condition of individuals agencies associated with such activity. This will facilitate flow of knowledge in the society and conservation of creations which are either in unsafe state or in a state of erosion. Wide scope also exists in the state for boosting design trade particularly in agro industry sector.

 

The said discussions are only a few of many points available for development of agriculture in the state through generation, protection and commercialization of knowledge associated with agriculture and allied sector. Hope state can take full advantage of globalization process and IP regime to make it prosperous and developed in a highly competitive world. Design of agricultural machinery, equipments, and containers of different agricultural product can be protected under Indian design Act 2000 and can be commercially exploited for the growth and development of this sector. Agricultural Industries, food processing plants, traditional healers of disease can protect their IP even through Trade mark or Trade secret.

 

Industries/Institutions providing services and goods can protect their goodwill in business through registration of trademark or through appropriate confidentiality agreement in case of protection intended through trade secret. There is very good news for Orissa peoples that recently by cooperation with various stakeholders in the School of Biotechnology, KIIT University a business incubation centre is established. I am also cooperating with centre as an Intellectual Property Law advisor. Now peoples are coming with different IP issues and getting proper solutions that is providing further motivation to the IP creators.

 

 

References:

1. Gupta, Anil, K.; and Vikas Chandak (2005) competitive strategies for agricultural technology development and export through value addition: the International property right prospective.

2. Mashalkahr, R.A. (2005). Intellectual Property Rights and the third world. Current Science 81(8): 955 965.

3. Baburam Singh, www.orissa.gov.in/e-magazine/Orissareview/2009/Jan



--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
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