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Intellectual property rights: mothering innovations to markets


  • Ganguli, Prabuddha


This paper examines innovation and knowledge generation processes and the supporting role of intellectual property rights (IPR) both for systematized investigative science and traditional community led activities. Options for protection of traditional knowledge and life materials and processes are suggested. It is suggested that the systematic and logical merging of ideas from conventions like TRIPs, convention of biodiversity (CBD), and union pour la protection des obtentitous vegetales (UPOV) can lead to the creation of harmonized provisions that could satisfy basic and minimum standards of IPR and societal ethics. The need for the unambiguous definition of discovery and invention in the granting of patents for biotechnological investigations is explored, as well as the issues of the establishment of prior art from unstructured traditional knowledge, identifying legal owners of traditional knowledge and evaluating prior art in this domain. The imperative task of creating a structured knowledge database of traditional practices and linking them through global networks is highlighted. The author also points to the fact that rigorous examination and search of patents in biotechnology is demanding ever greater levels of technical expertise and ultrahigh speed computing. Four case studies are presented to illustrate issues related to: - the erroneous granting of a patent and the role of documented community prior art in its revocation, - equitable sharing of benefits with indigenous tribes, - sharing of benefits with the community and - integrating indigenous knowledge, modern science and reciprocity into novel drug discovery.

Suggested Citation

  • Ganguli, Prabuddha, 2000. "Intellectual property rights: mothering innovations to markets," World Patent Information, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 43-52, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:worpat:v:22:y:2000:i:1-2:p:43-52

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