As you may already know, CAS-IP facilitates a community of IP practitioners called the National Partners Initiative, the NPI. Started in May 2007, the community consists of approximately 45 IP/TT practitioners, across many countries and regions, working together in a sustained manner to improve their individual skills and institutional capacities. The result is recognition and confidence that developing country IP professionals can serve the needs of agricultural institutions. This initiative provides a forum for exchange of IP practices, and stimulates the essential on-the-ground capacity and knowledge of Intellectual Property Management, Technology Transfer and IP issues.
One of early start initiatives of the NPI was to create a database of IP practitioners in each of the NPI countries. The objective was to develop a consolidated resource of all the component parties of IP practice. This would include researchers, legal personnel, tech transfer and technology managers, farmers’ groups and civil organizations involved in innovation cycles. Examples of contacts on the lists would be persons with expertise in contract drafting and negotiation, experience in application for trademarks in India, experience with Plant Variety Protection in Tanzania, etc.
On an ongoing basis all members are encouraged to prepare and continually update this list. The exercise has proved very useful, not only as a shared resource but also to those who have now taken the time to compile the list for their own country.
The experience of one of the NPI partners, Dr Kalpana Sastry of NAARM, India indicates the utility of this tool in her office. Since its creation in 2007 she has used this ready reckoner database of practitioners of IP and technology management to:
identify relevant faculty and clientele for awareness programmes
identify the specific areas for capacity building programmes
engage the faculty in IP education programmes
identify summer internship locations for students
locate probable employers for graduating students
collaborate in research proposals
The members of the NPI have unique networks of IP practitioners in developing or emerging economies. The lists so far compiled are available for use by all the NPI members on our shared space. Possible extended users of the data could include organisations seeking to commercialise an agricultural product in one of the participating countries, or donors/project managers seeking partners for advocacy to explore the use of IP tools such as trademarks, market segmentation, branding, as a means of creating more value for producers, especially small holder farmers and those that farm marginal areas. For privacy reasons we cannot share the lists with external parties, however, we could arrange for information to be disseminated on a case-by-case basis.
(Co-written by Kalpana Sastry, NAARM)