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Controversies in patents

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Controversies in patents

  1. 1. Awareness talk on Controversial issues in Patents (For biz ad students going for overseas exchange)
  2. 2. Patents Patenting life: Havard Oncomouse case… Patenting stem cells: using embryos… Patenting genetically modified foods for human consumption… Loss of sovereignty in countries over their own laws due to over-riding patent treaties.
  3. 3. Patents 1994, Calgene released the first GMO tomato, designed to stay ripe on the vine longer without getting squishy. The product flopped. Since then Monsanto has patented GE corn, soy bean, cotton, and canola.
  4. 4. Patents Monsanto produces Roundup, an Agent Orange containing herbicide. Monsanto produces GE crops which are Roundup resistant to improve planting yield. Aggressive use of herbicide leads to environmental concerns. Controversy over the safety of the crops ensued.
  5. 5. Patents Further controversy due to patented status of the GE seeds: Farmers cannot replant the seeds they harvested. Farmers must buy new seed from Monsanto every year. But pollens of GE crops spread uncontrollably!
  6. 6. Patents Monsanto began to aggressively sue farmers in the USA and Canada, when pollen of GE crops spread onto non GE crops of these farmers. Percy Schmeiser vs Monsanto Monsanto: it was deliberate theft and we want damages $$$. Schmeiser : pollen from neighbouring fields adulterated his plants.
  7. 7. Patents
  8. 8. Patents It got so bad that the farmers had to sue Monsanto to stop suing them for trace contamination of GE plants. Abuse of patent? “If Monsanto can patent seeds for financial gain, they should be forced to pay for contaminating a farmer’s field, not be allowed to sue them,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now! But the farmers lost the case in Mon Jan 13, 2014. Monsanto retains right to sue farmers for trivial traces of GE crops in their fields. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/13/us-usacourt-monsanto-idUSBREA0C10H20140113
  9. 9. Patents
  10. 10. Patents Monsanto’s argument for benefit of GE crops: Solves worldwide hunger. Must recoup investment. Farmers: Unfair to be sued due to natural spread GE pollen from neighbouring fields. Right of farmers to replant their own seeds. Activists: environmental destruction, emerging proof that GE foods cause cancer in mice.
  11. 11. Patents
  12. 12. Patents
  13. 13. Patents Monsanto also introduced GE cotton to India, Africa, and so on. Monsanto began selling Bt cotton in India in 2004, after a U.S. challenge at the WTO forced India to adopt seed patenting (sovereignty issues). Farmers in India who planted the GE cotton could not pay for new seeds for the year after if the field was bad. But they had pledged their land to get the seeds!!
  14. 14. Patents Original cotton seeds have been completely replaced and the farmers cannot go back to original seeds. Every 15 minutes one Indian farmer will take his own life in despair.
  15. 15. Patents Even Prince Charles is involved now…. Prince Charles claimed thousands of Indian farmers were killing themselves after using GM crops.
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  18. 18. Patents
  19. 19. Patents In Mexico, due to trade agreements, US has right to import GE corn into Mexico. The pollen of the GE corn spread uncontrollably. Native and original corn is genetically adulterated.
  20. 20. Patents
  21. 21. Patents Even the Philippines farmers are now up in arms…
  22. 22. Patents 95% of soy is GE, including soy protein, soy milk, soy sauce, tofu. The patent spree is on: GE wheat, GE rice and GE Salmon, to be ready soon. More big companies doing it: Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Bayer, Syngenta, Dupont, and BASF.
  23. 23. Patents
  24. 24. Patents But they do not want GMO food labelled.
  25. 25. Patents Top 7 GM food according to The Huffington Post 1. Corn: No. 1 crop grown in the U.S. 88 percent -- is genetically modified. 2. Soy: 93 percent of soy is genetically modified. 3. Cottonseed: According to the USDA, 94 percent of cotton grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. 4. Alfalfa: dunno 5. Papaya: 75 percent of the Hawaiian papaya crop is genetically modified. 6. Canola: About 90 percent of the U.S. canola crop is genetically modified. 7. Sugar Beets: 90 percent of the crop.
  26. 26. Patents Without the monopoly power of patents, this would not have happened. Is the power too strong? Has there been abuse? Or was it rightfully used?
  27. 27. Good news… Germany, Ireland, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg and Bulgaria, France, Madeira, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand Mexico October 2013, ban the planting of all GM maize. Japan Japanese law bans the growing of GMO. But JP food manufacturers import GM canola, which is now found growing wild. India After the disaster with 2007-08 crop of cotton. In 2010, the government instituted a ban on GMO eggplant due to this tragedy. Thailand GM papayas began to contaminate other cropland in field trials, Thailand has been working to reduce their use of GM crops.
  28. 28. HK…
  29. 29. HK…
  30. 30. Patents What will I do if Monsanto approached me to file their patents in Hong Kong? $ I hope they won’t approach me so I don’t have to make a decision!
  31. 31. Patents Questions?

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