Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, January 17, 2009

More on patents on the results of publicly-funded research

Indian Government maintains anti-access position regarding publicly-funded research, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, December 21, 2008.  (Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam.)  Excerpt:

Despite appeals from Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), and other public interest groups, the Indian government has refused to modify a secretly drafted legislation that would govern the patenting of the results of publicly funded-research including publicly-funded medical research. As it currently stands, the Bill will harm access to medicines and impede the ability of scientists to conduct innovative research due to a lack of measures to protect the public interest.

The Indian government made only cosmetic changes to the legislation: the Bill still removes publicly-funded innovations from the public sphere and permits monopoly pricing on publicly-funded products without any effective safeguards to protect the public interest. The legislation is modeled on the US Bayh-Dole Act which has led to a proliferation of patenting activity and the creation of patent thickets. These create barriers to new innovative research and fail to protect the interests of American taxpayers who end up subsidizing the discovery of medicines they are often then unable to afford.

Proponents of the Indian Bill claim it will help India to commercialize publicly-funded research by encouraging research institutions to seek patents. As a UAEM white paper on a recent version of the bill argues, the law duplicates the failures of the US Bayh-Dole act and in fact offers even fewer access protections....

PS:  See my comment from last week on a similar law in South Africa.