Tag Archives: commercialisation

Intellectual Asset Management to make available virus resistant papaya to small-scale farmers in Peru

Intellectual Property (IP) Management is essential for agricultural R&D processes and activities. In fact, most of the technologies and materials used in them are protected by Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).  However, most national research centers are not aware of the legal restrictions that some technologies and materials they use are subject to (under IPRs).  Consequently, they are not conscious of the potential conflicts that may arise in their daily activities, thus placing their own research, projects and institutions at risk.

The National Partners Initiative (NPI) of CAS-IP is publishing the last of 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 to the stakeholders, people, institutions and countries.

This case examines the Peruvian National Agricultural Innovation Institute (INIA).  The authors took one example of a project being executed by INIA, analyzed the IP issues and identified how these issues impact researchers’ daily activities.  This will help them to realize that IP needs to be constantly taken into consideration. An additional purpose of this case study is to trigger, in the near future, a complete understanding of the importance of IP and a sequence of actions leading to the development of an internal and appropriate IP Policy for INIA.  Finally, the authors’ assessment allowed identification of issues that may affect the development of the technology initiated by the project and its commercialization in Peru and, potentially, in other countries.

The full text can be viewed by clicking HERE.

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

Licensing of Modified Virgin Coconut Oil in Malaysia

The National Partners Initiative (NPI) of CAS-IP is publishing 5 working papers from 5 Agricultural Research Institutions in developing countries.  These case studies aim to share country experiences from developing countries in the areas surrounding IP policy making, policy implementation and use of IPRs by researchers for leveraging more benefits to the stakeholders, people, institutions and countries. The results of the five studies have been prepared as five working papers.

The first one from MARDI in Malaysia is entitled: “Pre-Commercialisation and Licensing of Modified Virgin Coconut Oil” written by Guat Hong Teh (CAS-IP) and Rafeah A. Rahman (MARDI).

Commercialisation of publicly-funded research in Malaysia is low. Studies have shown that a complex interaction of policy direction, funding mechanism, innovation structure, diffusion mechanisms and manpower availability is necessary to increase the interaction between public research institutes, universities and the private sector, in order to bring research to market. In this paper, the authors showcase a recently patented product known as modified virgin coconut oil and how the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) has been able to up-scale its production and licence the technology to two private companies. Factors leading to its success include the newly-launched TechnoFund scheme by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI); the selection of the right private sector partners and the building of trust and confidence between them; an extremely dedicated and proactive inventor who is business savvy; and the internal MARDI support to research staff for IP management and business development needs.

The paper concludes by looking into further steps that MARDI can take to exploit the potential of this technology, investments that it should continue to make for augmenting its current internal skill sets, and a recommendation to consider the pros and cons of future models of collaboration with the private sector.

The full text can be viewed HERE.

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

The hot potato of public access in the face of commercialisation

  “A Better Pencil” – Inside Higher Ed

An article about the changes both real and feared, that the electronic age might have on the way we communicate.  It is based around an interview with the writer of a book on the subject, Dennis Baron.

The interview touched on the subject of the Google Books project.
Baron said:

“First, I think it’s great to digitize as much nondigital text as possible… What I don’t like is that Google is poised to monopolize text. No one entity should have that kind of power over the word…  The sorts of operations that Google…represent are important to how we use computers, and they make a vital contribution to our economy. But while they have been important in shaping our literacy practices, they should not get to dictate them.”

This debate is fascinating.  A similar argument surrounds the commercialisation of publicly funded research in agriculture and there is a danger that we oversimplify the debate.  There is not a YES/NO answer to this issue, and the dynamics are intricate.  Free doesn’t constitute uptake and use,  but private raises another new set of considerations regarding control.  The argument for continued adequate public funding of research for sustainable agriculture to ensure food availability and empower farmers must be made in a way that is clear to every government.  Otherwise will we encourage a Google®-type organisation to hold rights for all improved seed in the future?

In fact Baron goes on to say:

“Not only does Google intend to profit from this kind of control (it answers to its stockholders, not to the public), it would have the power to manipulate the text under its control, deciding who can and cannot see it, what can be displayed, what can be erased.”

And that is an important point.  If rights are signed over completely then with them go all safeguards.  But we need to find a way to strike a balance between allowing commercialisation (where distribution of a product might not otherwise happen),  whilst not loosing sight of the ethos of public goods.  And finding that balance is not easy…. 

As guardians of public goods we have a huge responsibility to make those goods accessible.  We cannot be academically against initiatives like Google Books without actively addressing why it is there is a demand for this private service.  Public goods are doing no good at all if they sit hidden in a closed repository, or if they are transferred to 3rd parties without an obligation to disseminate results to those who need them.