Category Archives: Uncategorized

Patent pool for HIV medicines

According to Businessweek:

“Gilead Sciences Inc., Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson are in talks to license their patented AIDS treatments to generic-drug makers in developing nations”

Licences will be made available through a patent pool which will:

“…allow makers of copycat pills to market the drugs in poorer nations… the initiative would be the first pool for HIV medicines”

For more information visit

(Thanks to Victoria Henson-Apollonio for the link)

CAS-IP e-survey soon closing… last chance to participate!

On behalf of the Mid-Term Review team for CAS-IP, I wish to thank everyone who has been able to participate in the review process to date. We will be reporting back to you as soon as possible.

We offer a “last chance” call for participation in the e-survey (closing 12 June 2010). For further information, please go to:

many thanks,

Helen Hambly Odame, PhD
University of Guelph

Open Access in the CGIAR

Victoria Henson-Apollonio circulated a link to Richard Poynder’s blog post, “A letter to CGIAR in support of Open Access”

Poynder, a prolific journalist with a special interest in Open Access, reports that:

Indian Open Access (OA) advocate Professor Subbiah Arunachalam (Arun) organized a letter to the top management of CGIAR . The letter spoke of the need for, and advantages of, making all of CGIAR’s research output Open Access.

Poynder interviews Arun, who makes a number of astute and relevant observations about the origins and the mandate of the CGIAR and similar organizations.  Arun observes that:

Unfortunately, research findings of CGIAR laboratories often end up as articles in refereed professional journals, most of which are behind toll access. I thought it needed to be corrected.

In the belief that research conducted by public organizations should be easily accessible, Arun has written similar letters to other organizations which have a development mandate.

CAS-IP lawyer Francesca Re Manning posted a comment on Poynder’s blog in response to this interview:

I completely agree with Professor Arunachalam. Research outputs should be made as widely accessible as possible; this is one of the ways the CGIAR can fulfill its mission. CAS-IP, the legal unit to the CGIAR, is assisting other centers in going “open”, advising on open access strategies and copyright. That is why Bioversity, CIMMYT, and ICARDA are following ICRISAT’s example, adopting an open access policy and consistently use of Creative Commons as well as OpenData Commons for their data exchanges. We are really pleased to be involved in this process which will ultimately benefit research in the agricultural sector in developing countries.

Enrica Porcari, Chief Information Officer of the CGIAR and Leader of the CGIAR’s ICT-KM Program, posted a reponse to the letter sent by Subbiah Arunachalam to the CGIAR leadership.  In her response she outlines some of the OA policies underway at various centres within the CGIAR.  She says:

“Open access” policies can often be easily applied to products that stay in our hands, but the situation becomes more complex when it comes to articles published by third parties.

And this is of course true also of works co-written with third parties.  Enrica concludes by saying:

Rather than a policy on “open access” limited to journal articles, I would instead prefer to see us develop a strong and clear CGIAR view and set of practices that balance the need for high quality science with highly accessible outputs, and reinforces the substantial progress we have already made across all the Centers…I would advocate for a concerted effort to “opening access to our research”

The debate is continuing in the comments section of the original blog post.  Read more about the ICT-KM ‘Triple A Framework ‘ that Enrica references in her post.

Last year, Poynder featured CAS-IP in a post entitled “Intellectual Property, Open Access, and the Developing World“.

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP and Kay Chapman

The landscape for access and benefit sharing of genetic resources

Last month the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity posted a notification regarding the communication of a proposed Protocol pursuant to Article 28 paragraph 3 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  The notification is available on the Secretariat’s web site at:

Now, what does this all mean? I asked Peter Munyi, a lawyer and consultant to CAS-IP.  He told me:

“…the expectation is that the protocol will, if adopted,  provide an internationally recognized landscape for access and benefit sharing of genetic resources. While  this  protocol is also seen as  having potential to spur technology transfer from the north to the south, and to stem biopriracy,  the devil is in the detail. The proposed text on scope  (article 3) is wide and non-exclusive. It’s therefore proposed to have all genetic resources  falling within the ambit of the protocol. This includes plant genetic resources that are the subject of the ITPGRFA, as well as others  such as animal GRs, forest GRs and microbials, that have been the subject of discussions with the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.”

So, until now discussions are continuing about how the sectorial approach will fit in with the proposed protocol (in particular for our interest area, PGRFA).  I was pointed in the direction of a pertinent paper entitled “International Agreements and Processes Affecting an International Regime on Access and Benefit Sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity“, (Thanks Isabel).  The document is intended as:

“… a contribution to the ongoing negotiations of an international regime on access and benefit sharing (ABS) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It aims at clarifying the main interfaces with other international agreements and processes relevant for ABS, in view of the challenges of ensuring consistency with these established frameworks. Furthermore, it provides information of importance for identifying the scope of an international ABS regime. And finally, it seeks to contribute to the discussion of the usefulness and possible design of a sectoral approach to ABS.”

See specifically the first section of the report “Interface with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture” for implications a new international regime for access and benefit sharing could have on materials in the multi-lateral system.

Should be some further clarity after the next session in the Autumn.

Reminder about the Mid-Term Review and Future Scenarios of the CGIAR Central Advisory Service on Intellectual Property

Please don’t forget to participate in the CAS-IP Mid Term Review.  For more information visit our earlier blog post. Or to proceed directly to the online survey you can visit

Thank you to all those who have already completed the online survey.  Your inputs and opinions are important!

Inviting Your Input into the Mid-Term Review and Future Scenarios of the CGIAR Central Advisory Service on Intellectual Property

The Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the DGIS-funded project at the CGIAR Central Advisory Service on Intellectual Property (CAS-IP) is an internally commissioned and managed review originally designed to inform management of the project within CAS-IP and DGIS. However, it is taking place at a time of great change in the CGIAR and the international agricultural research-for-development community in general. Consequently, DGIS have requested that the MTR also focuses on the development of a robust set of recommendations for the development of effective IP management systems for the CGIAR and its partners in the future.

This is no small task and your input is very important!

The MTR, which is taking place during April – June 2010, will use multiple methods and sources of information to assess CAS-IP performance and recommend options for institutionalizing professional IP Management in the CGIAR and partner organizations.  The Summary Terms of Reference provides further information.

An e-survey and interviews will involve respondents from three groups of primary clients: the Centers of the CGIAR, the CGIAR system-wide initiatives and the CGIAR partners in low income countries. The review team is also eager to seek input from well informed opinions beyond the network of those usually asked to comment on changes in the CGIAR. Thus, the review team invites unsolicited feedback on CAS-IP from any stakeholder group who would like to submit their comments by emailing All comments sent to this address will remain confidential amongst the review team, and no direct attribution of comments will be made in the review report.

Alternatively, please feel free to initiate a dialogue on specific issues through this blog site.

We would be particularly grateful if you could take 15 minutes to complete the e-survey

English available at:

French (available soon)

Spanish (available soon)

Learning from the licensing of a papaya variety developed by the public sector in Costa Rica

The National Partners Initiative (NPI) of CAS-IP is publishing five working papers from five Agricultural Research Institutions in developing countries. These case studies aim to share experiences from developing countries in the areas surrounding IP policy-making, policy implementation and use of IPRs by researchers for leveraging more benefits for the stakeholders, people, institutions and countries.

The second case study published comes from Costa Rica. It describes the process that the University of Costa Rica’s Office for Knowledge Management and Transfer (PROINNOVA) undertook to license the seeds of a new papaya variety, named Pococi.  This was developed jointly by the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the National Institute for Agricultural Technology (INTA, for its acronym in Spanish) from Costa Rica.  The study seeks to better understand the institutional challenges that must be addressed by potential license seeking organizations in Costa Rica to ensure successful transactions.

The project itself was not successful because, after addressing several institutional issues, a license agreement was not concluded.  Failures and/or unsuccessful projects can be a good way of acquiring experience, especially when lessons can be learned.

The full text can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Post written by Karine Malgrand, Facilitator of the National Partners Initiative for CAS-IP

Problems with the website

We are currently experiencing problems with the website.  Hopefully it will be up and running soon.  Apologies for any inconvenience.

Tax & development

I must confess that despite my puzzlement at the UK Government’s latest approach to intellectual property (see CAS-IP blog of 3 December 2009), I was pleased to read on Information Age that one of the suggestions in the pre-budget proposal, includes the UK Treasury intention to decrease tax income generated by patents from 28% to 10%.  Chancellor Alastair Darling explaining the proposal said:

“I want to encourage research into pharmaceuticals and the biotechnology industry”.

It seems that the UK is following the current European trend, in particular that of the Belgium’s government.  I am curious to hear from our readers what the patents’ income tax is in their countries, especially in developing countries. Please drop us a message to let us know!

Post written by Francesca Re Manning, consultant to CAS-IP

Happy Holidays!

CAS-IP December 2009

Left to Right: Sebastian Derwisch - Irina Curca - Victoria Henson-Apollonio - Guat Hong Teh - Kay Chapman - Francesca Re Manning - Karine Malgrand - Sebastian Poehlmann - Shawn Landersz

The CAS-IP office has now closed for Christmas.  The blog will also be taking a short break but we will be posting again the first week of January.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday period, and all the best for 2010 — from all of the CAS-IP team!

The CAS-IP office is closed for the festive period. The blog is going to take a short break too for some rest and relaxation…  Wishing everyone a happy holiday period, and