Monthly Archives: December 2008

Holiday Season for the CAS-IP Blog

As of today my Christmas holidays are starting.  Hooray!

The CAS-IP blog is therefore also going to take a break until the holiday season is over.

I will start blogging again at the start of 2009.

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

Rights over the French President’s wife’s image
This intellectual property story has been doing the rounds on all the main media and fashion sites this week.  The BBC lead link said,  “a company has been fined… $58.5k for selling bags with a nude image of Carla Bruni, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.”  The image had been used without permission from either the photographer or Carla Bruni herself.

Failure to protect biodiversity in Europe

A rather depressing item today outlining the harsh reality of EU’s inevitable failure to meet 2010 targets to “end the destruction of European natural heritage”.

In relation to agriculture and biodiversity the item said:

“the Commission identifies integration of biodiversity considerations into different sectoral policies as a major task yet to be tackled. The agricultural sector, in particular, puts pressure on natural systems as an increasing amount of land is required to meet growing demand for food and to provide energy crops following the EU’s new biofuel policy.”

On the same page of this post there is a link to a further press release from the European Union.  The press release goes deeper into the issue of Biodiversity at a global level.  They say:

“new issues such as biofuels and food security have emerged as major challenges to sustainable development. An ongoing study … initiated by the European Commission and Germany, will help decision makers direct more attention to this issue and the link to poverty eradication.”

They make similar links with biodiversity and climate change.

Most pertinent to the CG, there is a specific mention of “the knowledge base” and the:

“critical importance of knowledge to support the development of biodiversity policy… The Commission also supports the proposal to establish an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES), to strengthen independent scientific advice to global policy making.”

“Crowdsourcing” in the patent community, soliciting prior art & preparing defensive publications

This item on ManagingIP talks about the recently launched “Linux Defenders” programme.  The latest peer-to-patent programme which aims to “increase patent quality for software inventions and reduce litigation.”  CEO of Open Invention Network, Keith Bergelt (one of founders of the programme) said the hope is to “benefit open source innovation by significantly reducing the number of poor quality patents that might otherwise be used by patent trolls or strategics”

See previous CAS blog item about a peer-to-patent programme.

Food for thought? What about thought for food?

This NYTimes article talks about the way the US government is currently organised with regards to agriculture.  The writer suggests given that only 2% of the U.S population are farmers yet 100% are “eaters”, that the Agriculture Secretary postition should be renamed the  Secretary of Food.  He goes on to suggest this might help created a more balanced, and healthy farming industry arguing that the strength of farm lobby means industrial farming receives too much support.  His hope is that Mr. Obama may take this into consideration as arguably a reform of the agricultural sector could assist the achievement of his other campaign issues of health care, climate change and energy independence.

This subject reminded me of an awarding winning short film clip I spotted a while back about the changing face of farming from the family farm to the factory farm.  Click HERE to view – its a play on the film the Matrix and is called ‘the Meatrix’.

New book release; TRIPS and the global IP debate

The Implementation Game: The TRIPS Agreement and the Global Politics of Intellectual Property Reform in Developing Countries
I received an email yesterday announcing the release of a new book entitled: The Implementation Game: The TRIPS Agreement and the Global Politics of Intellectual Property Reform in Developing Countries.

“[the book] seeks to explain the variation in how developing countries have implemented [TRIPS], highlighting the influence of global IP debates, international pressures, and political dynamics within developing countries. In so doing, the book exposes how power politics occur not just within global trade talks but afterward when countries implement agreements.“

Incidentally, the author, Ms. Carolyn Deere, also founded Intellectual Property Watch.

Skills workshop to be held in Nairobi; an ILAC initiative

This workshop might be of interest.  It is a course run by the ILAC Initiative.  They wrote the following announcement: 


“Following a series of very successful courses, the Institutional Learning and Change (ILAC) Initiative is organizing another training workshop on “Group Facilitation Skills for Participatory Decision-Making”, in collaboration with ICRAF, in Nairobi, Kenya, from 26-29 May 2009.


The course has been designed for project, programme or research managers and team leaders whose work requires them to coordinate participatory projects, networks, and meetings. The workshop is limited to 20 participants from CGIAR Center and partner organizations.  There are no workshop fees. ILAC is sponsoring trainers and materials, but participants are responsible for their own expenses with travel, local transport, accommodation and meals during the workshop.


For more information contact  or visit

Strategies for brand protection in Africa. Trademarks, Service Marks and Domain Names.
The latest issue of the World Trademark Review  was entitled “African strategies and developments” – see the lead link for Afro-IP’s blog  posting.  They say:

“The article picks up significant issues in some nine African states, together with ARIPO. … the registration of service marks is not something you can take for granted, since there are still plenty of jurisdictions where such registration is not available.”

Additionally, the article picks up important points regarding domain names registration, cyber-squatting and subsequent enforcement issues in Africa – using several examples.  There is also mention of a new initiative in South Africa to grant extended protection to traditional knowledge.

The CGIAR change management process; an opportunity for greater cohesion on IP issues
Last week at the CGIAR AGM, the CAS-IP Manager Victoria Henson-Apollonio, was approached for her point of view about the Change Management process.  Her thoughts have been posted on the Change Management blog.  Visit the lead link for her thoughts on the opportunities for the system.

IPRs; a barrier to technology transfer?
This article was on today – it’s a Q&A session with Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The article opens:

“de Boer says that getting technology transfer policies right must be one of four central planks of climate policy (See ‘UN climate chief calls for green technology revolution’).”

Whilst this article is specifically about Climate Change policy, parallels to our work in agricultural development could easily be made.  For example the answers put much emphasis on the increased need for partnerships which is something we are hearing a lot about in the CGIAR.   Of specific interest were the following two questions:

How big a barrier to technology transfer are intellectual property rights?
Many developing countries mention it as a major barrier. If we can think about creating mechanisms [in Copenhagen] that make it possible to buy down the intellectual property rights of some new technologies … — it would be an important step forward.
… we need to design mechanisms that make joint research and development between rich and poor countries possible. Both China and India have become major producers [of renewable sources of energy] so it’s not a matter of all the technology being in the North and none of it being in the South: it’s more a matter of finding affordable ways for developing countries to get access to that technology
Are you disappointed with the rate of progress of the technology transfer negotiations?
… there’s a broad realisation that without an advance on technology cooperation, we are just not going to get a result and that is making everybody take this issue much more seriously and look for real ways of advancing it. “

I am a bit confused as to what exactly was meant by creation of mechanisms to “buy down the intellectual property rights”.  If anyone knows please let me know so I can update the post!