List of Contents
What is the News?
The Union Education Minister informed the Lok Sabha about the KAPILA campaign launched in October 2020. The campaign was launched on 89th birth anniversary of former President and Scientist Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
- KAPILA stands for Kalam Program for Intellectual Property Literacy and Awareness campaign.
- Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Education
- Objectives: The objectives of the campaign include
- To create awareness regarding Intellectual Property Rights(IPR) in Higher Education Institutions(HEIs),
- To develop training program on IPR for faculty and students of HEIs
- To sensitise and develop a vibrant Intellectual Property(IP) filing system.
- To enable IPR protection on the inventions originating from the faculty and students of HEIs
GI tag for Basmati Rice to Pakistan : a cause of concern for India?
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Syllabus: GS 2 – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Synopsis: Pakistan secures the Geographical Indications (GI) tag for its Basmati rice. Experts say it would in no way affect India’s Basmati exports.
Before partition in 1947, both India and Pakistan shared the Basmati rice-growing zone. After partition, Basmati rice became a joint heritage of India and Pakistan.
What is the Geographical Indications (GI) tag?
A GI tag is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are specific to that origin.
- The tag can be awarded for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine, handicrafts, and industrial products.
- A GI tag is a part of the intellectual property rights that comes under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
- Once a product is accorded a GI tag, it is protected by various legislations, such as legislations by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
What are the regions comes under Basmati zone of both Nation?
India’s Basmati Zone includes- Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Pakistan’s Basmati belt was the Kalar bowl, a tract of land between Ravi and the Chenab rivers, covering the districts of Narowal, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, and Skeikhupura in Punjab province.
How did Pakistan get the GI tag?
Pakistan has been also exporting Basmati rice to European countries, along with India. It is only after enacting the act, that a country can claim for GI tag. Pakistan has just enacted the GI Act and is now following India’s path. Whereas, India enacted the GI Act in 2001.
India also applied for an exclusive GI tag to Indian-origin basmati rice. The application was published in the EU journal in 2020.
The geographical identity of Basmati is attached to the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Madhya Pradesh, which is outside this belt, also asked to be included in the GI tag for Basmati. It is only after the inclusion of MP that Pakistan pushed its case for Basmati and received it.
Is it a cause of concern for India?
It is not a cause of concern for India. India never contested Pakistan’s claim of GI tag for Basmati rice.
Initially, both countries were inclined to file for GI tag together, however, this move could not be successful, due to the following reasons;
- Firstly, Pakistan had no nodal authority with which the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority [APEDA] of India could have dealt.
- Secondly, the plan was interrupted by political issues also.
Pakistan produces Basmati only in its 14 districts in comparison to the 7 States of India. The output of India is very large in comparison to Pakistan, and it won’t be affected by the GI tag.
Impact of Diluting disclosure requirement in Patent Rules, 2003
Synopsis: The dilution of patent working disclosure rules obstructs the success of India’s compulsory licensing regime.
According to the new Patent Rules, 2020, licensees are no longer required to annually submit to the Patent Office disclosing the degree to which they have commercially worked or made the patented inventions available to the public in the country.
What were the requirement of disclosure in Patent Rules, 2003?
The purpose of granting patents itself is to ensure that the inventions are operated in India and are made available to the public in adequate amounts at rational prices.
- The information about the degree at which these patentees are operating in India is very important to check abuse of patent monopoly. For example, excessive pricing or scare supply of the invention
- Courts have refused a temporary ban in cases charging violation of a patent which has not been operated in India.
- Section 146 (2) asks every licensee to submit to the Patent Office an annual statement explaining the extent to which they have worked the invention in India was not found in patent laws.
- The disclosure is to be made in the Form 27 format as suggested under the Patent Rules, 2003.
Irregularities and PIL filed
- The amendment to the form was made after a PIL was filed by Shamnad Basheer before the Delhi High Court in 2015. The PIL was about the non-filing and defective filing of Form 27 by licensees and wanted an action against the violators.
- The PIL also called for a reform of Form 27 because the information it sought was totally insufficient to determine the level of the working of the patent.
- Court directed the government to bring an amendment to strengthened the patent working disclosure rules.
- However, after 2 years, instead of strengthening, government introduced an amendment that dilutes the disclosure requirements.
How government changed the disclosure requirement?
The amendment in patent laws has considerably weakened it and is defeating the whole purpose of the amendment exercise. The requirement of submitting a lot of important information was removed. The form now requires the patentees to provide only for the following information:
- Firstly, whether the invention has worked or not and the revenue generated from it (manufacturing and importing). Reasons for the invention not working and the steps being taken towards it to make it work.
- Secondly, they don’t have to provide data about the amount of the invention manufactured in India and imported which is vital for proper assessment.
- Licensees can just self-certify that they’ve worked the patent without having to prove the claim with the data on how they’ve done it, including through licensing/sub-licensing the patent.
- For instance, the disclosure of this data by Bayer in Form 27 played a crucial role in grant of India’s first compulsory license to Natco for the anti-cancer drug Sorafenib/Nexavar.
What are its impacts?
- Doing away with the condition of providing inventions for public requirement at a reasonable price, will have negative impacts on the affordability of new medicines in India.
- Doing away with the condition to disclose price and demand will make it difficult to assess the quantum of invention made available to the public in sufficient quantity and at an affordable price.
- The government must reconsider its amendments as it is going to impact public interest. Some inventions may remain inaccessible to public because of the lack of information. Such lack of accessibility in case of patented medicines could have adverse consequences for public health of the country.
Sci-Hub case: How scientific publishing works?
Synopsis: The recent case of Sci-hub filed by 3 scientific publishers in Delhi HC has highlighted the issues in scientific publishing. To under these issues, first we need to understand, how scientific publishing works.
What is the Sci-Hub case ?
- Recently, three scientific publishers’ companies such as Elsevier, Wiley, and the American Chemical Society (ACS) have filed a lawsuit against Sci-Hub owner Alexandra Elbakyan of Kazakhstan and others in the Delhi High Court.
- The publishers want Indians to be blocked from accessing the site called Sci-Hub, started by Ms. Elbakyan in 2011.
- To understand why the publishers wanted to block sci-Hub we need to understand the process of Scientific publishing in India and how Sci-hub changed this.
How scientific publishing works and how they are making profits?
- Scientists are usually paid by their institutions and their research grants come from various organizations. For example, in India Department of Biotechnology, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, and the Department of Atomic Energy are the major funding agencies.
- When Scientists complete their research paper, they tend to publish it in an academic journal run by publishers such as Elsevier, Wiley, and ACS.
- Before publishing, the journal seeks peer review of the paper but neither the authors nor the reviewer is paid, but they charge libraries and Indian Institutions a sky-high amount for their subscription.
- For example, it is estimated that about ₹1,500 crore is paid for India annually.
- Moreover, sometimes journals require authors to transfer copyright to them. This process has been generating huge profits to these academic publishers.
- Elsevier’s parent company RELX had profits of over 30% on revenue of nearly $10 billion in 2019.
- This has resulted in resentment against these companies and many alternatives have been explored such as open access model, author pays model etc.
How Sci- hub changed this publishing process
- First, Sci-hub operates based on open access and author pays model that enables scientists to search for academic papers from any publisher and freely download them.
- Second, Sci-Hub makes accessible to scientific literature without navigating institutional VPNs.
- Third, due to exorbitant amounts charged by other journals Sci-hub becomes easiest and sometimes only option though it has violated many copyrights owned by journals.
Is Sci-hub beneficial site for India?
- The content on Sci-Hub is beneficial to the scientific development of the country. For example, in 2020, when leading publishers made COVID-19-related articles free to read it resulted in a boom in research and development of dozens of vaccine candidates in a very short time period.
- Unlike, piracy in music and arts the Sci- hub piracy benefits the very people who create that content.
What is the way forward?
- Publishers should voluntarily reform their policies so that there will not be any need for platforms like Sci-Hub.
- Implementation of ‘one nation, one subscription’ system whereby, the entire content will be made available to all readers in India in exchange for a fixed and reasonable cost paid directly by the government.
Elsevier, Wiley, and ACS instead of escalating the Sci-hub issue, should work towards an equitable system of access to scientific literature that serves both their commercial interests and the Indian public.
Himachal Pradesh wants GI status for five products
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News: Himachal Pradesh government is trying to obtain GIs (Geographical Indication) for five products from the state.
The Five Products are:
- Karsog Kulth: Kulthi or Kulth (horse gram) is a legume grown as a kharif crop in Himachal Pradesh. Kulth grown in the Karsog area of Mandi district is believed to be particularly rich in amino acids.
- Pangi ki Thangi: It is a type of hazelnut which grows in Pangi valley located in the north-western edge of Himachal. It is known for its unique flavour and sweetness.
- Chamba metal crafts: These include items such as metal idols and brass utensils which, historically, were made by skilled artisans in the courts of kings of Chamba. There are efforts to revive the trade, and a plate made from a brass-like alloy and having carvings of gods and goddesses is still popular.
- Chamba Chukh: It’s a chutney made from green and red chillies grown in Chamba and prepared in traditional and unique ways.The practice has largely declined in rural households of Chamba, but survives to some extent at the small-scale industrial level.
- Bharmouri Rajmah: It’s more specifically called the Kugtalu Rajmah, since it grows in the area around Kugti Pass in the Bharmour region of Chamba district. It is rich in proteins and has a unique flavour.
- What is a Geographical Indication? The World Intellectual Property Organisation defines a GI as a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
- How many registered GIs does Himachal currently have? These include four handicrafts (Kullu Shawl, Chamba Rumal, Kinnauri Shawl and Kangra Paintings), three agricultural products (Kangra Tea, Basmati and Himachali Kala Zeera) and one manufactured product (Himachali Chuli Oil).