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Monday, Oct 25, 2021
Outlook.com

Bio-Quarry To The World

Challenging the basmati patent isn’t enough. Legal safeguards are a must to fight bio-piracy.

Bio-Quarry To The World
Bio-Quarry To The World
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
FOR over a year, farmers, scientists, and NGOs have been protesting the patenting of a variety of basmati rice by a US firm, Rice Tech. But it finally needed the now-so-familiar-kick-in-the-backside by the Supreme Court to stir the bureaucracy out of its sloth. On November 16, during a hearing of a PIL filed by the Research Foundation on Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), Attorney General Soli Sorabjee announced that the government will challenge the patent. "The best legal brains in the US and 15-20 scientists are involved in the exercise to move the cancellation of the patent," he assured the SC. 

But India will have to do far more, in order to fight the increasing bio-piracy of its indigenous wisdom and wealth. For one, basmati rice is just one of hundreds of bio-piracies. And it makes no sense disputing them all. CSIR successfully challenged a patent on haldi’s wound-healing properties last year, but the dispute over neem patents is yet to be settled. For another, contesting a patent in a US court is a very expensive proposition, with the cost...

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