We, the undersigned, wish to share with you some of our concerns on India’s position on intellectual property (IP), particularly in the context of bilateral relations between the United States of America and India. We gather from the US-India Joint Statement dated 30 September 2014 that the Indian Government
(a)greeing on the need to foster innovation in a manner that promotes economic growth and job creation…committed to establish an annual high-level Intellectual Property (IP) Working Group with appropriate decision-making and technical-level meetings as part of the Trade Policy Forum.
The necessity for setting up the joint Indo-US IP Working Group is not entirely clear. As the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP)‘s press release of 3 October 2014 mentions, there is already in operation an Indo-US Trade Policy Forum since 2010. Therefore, we request your Government to kindly make the specific purpose of this joint Working Group publicly known. Continue reading Letter to PM about US-India Bilateral Relations on Intellectual Property→
Yes, this is what we must do now on a large scale – bootleg education.
Thanks to the conjunction of new heights of intellectual bankruptcy with new regimes of intellectual property, a large scale attack on equitable access to education is upon us. A longer discussion on ‘Intellectual property’ is required, but the immediate provocation for this post is of course the Delhi University photocopying case. Elsewhere on Kafila, there is a post that links to a petition by authors and academics on this issue. The case, very simply is this: three big corporate publishers, namely Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis have filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, claiming infringement of copyright with regard to course packs used by students. The offender against these giant publishers is a small photocopy shop in Delhi School of Economics. As many legal experts on intellectual property and the Indian copyright law have stated, this kind of photocopying is well within the framework of the law (See some of the discussion here and here).
At the moment, however, I am not concerned with the pure legality of the issue. The question of ‘course packs’ concerns the vital interests of our society as a whole. For there was a time when teaching at the college and university level was conducted largely through substandard kunjis, or guidebooks – honourable exceptions apart, of course. Even today we have at least one of the corporate giants (that happens to be among those suing the little Rameshwari photocopier), producing slightly upmarket versions of such guidebooks. University professors willing to write a substandard book a month that fits into some course or the other, are also published by publishers like these now, euphemistically called ‘textbooks’. In an earlier time, such books of barely passable scholarship (largely plagiarized cut-and-paste jobs) would be published only by dubious publishers.
Glivec (called Gliveec in the US) is a drug for chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML) – a rare and debilitating form of cancer. A Novartis drug, it has been heralded as a sign of pioneering pharmaceutical research. And, no doubt, it is a ‘life-saving’ drug; though, it also has to be taken life-long. Most narratives of the research pathways of Glivec gloss over the 40+ years of publicly funded and conducted research that isolated the cause, a BCR-ABL oncogene, and performed the initial clinical research that identified a promising candidate (STI 571 – imatinib mesylate). Novartis, the Swiss-headquartered pharma transnational, proceeded to synthesise and test STI 571, which in 1993 was patented. Further research found that a beta crystalline form of imatinib mesylate was more stable – and this was also patented (in 1997) and approved in the US in 2001. In 1998, a patent application for this beta crystalline form was filed in India – and this is in dispute here.
Section 3(d) is a provision in India’s patent law – and is unique to India; though, as explained in the article, it reflects a wider authorship of global public concern. The section was introduced in the third amendment to Patent Act, 1970 (i.e. The Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005) when India was fulfilling its final commitments to patent-related obligations at TRIPS. Written in technologically neutral language, 3(d) seeks to deny the availability of patents where a ‘new form of a known substance … does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance’. This, along with other provisions, would hopefully make it more difficult to patent trivial and incremental modifications to a drug; thus, extending patent terms and delaying entry of generic alternatives. Continue reading Drugs in 3(d) and What Matters in the Novartis Case at Supreme Court: Dwijen Rangnekar→
The dispute surrounds a location analysis software package – “Geospatial” – developed by a small company called Intelligent Integration Systems (IISi), which like Netezza is based in Massachusetts. IISi alleges that Netezza misled the CIA by saying that it could deliver the software on its new hardware, to a tight deadline. Continue reading Aim for the Insurgent…→