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Wednesday, 31 August 2005


The IPKat has heard once again from his friend Michael Harman on the effects of IP protection in Iraq (see blog of 24 August). Michael writes:

Private Eye has picked up the story about the Iraqi Order 81, Rule 15 protecting plant varieties, with a reference to Michael Meacher’s Times article. Apparently campaign groups like Grain and Focus have added a Monsanto-approved statement that the new law applies only to new registered plant varieties, not traditional varieties. But the Eye says that there are virtually no stocks of traditional seeds in Iraq following the war and looting, so US giants can offer their "patented, no re-use, cheap-this-time, pay a fortune … seeds" when all the traditional seeds have gone.

What isn’t clear to me is whether the new Iraqi law extends the normal deadlines for protecting patentable inventions (eg the "terminator" gene) and plant varieties. I also wonder when patent and plant variety infringement proceedings in the Iraqi courts, and effective recovery of damages, is likely to be feasible.

The IPKat isn't a fan of no-reuse seeds at the best of times, let alone in this context.

1 comment:

Peter Clay said...

Isn't this an inevitable consequence of (a) allowing patents on plant genes and (b) considering a plant to be patent-infringing if it contains those genes even if they got there naturally? After a while the patented genes will have spread into all varieties, and it will be impossible to find and grow non-infringing plants.

Have you read Information Feudalism?

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