India pressing for changes in TRIPS to check bio-piracy

By agencies   |   Friday, 26 August 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: In a bid to protect its wealth of indigenous knowledge and check bio-piracy, India and other developing nations are pressing for amendments in the TRIPS agreement, including disclosure of source and country of origin of biological resource and traditional knowledge.

"Our view is to get these basic principles incorporated in the basic law so that they become mandatory with principles. Modalities could differ from country to country," Anthony de Sa, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce said at an UNCTAD seminar on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) here.

As per the proposal of developing countries led by India, TRIPS agreement should be amended in order to make WTO members ensure that an applicant for a patent relating to biological materials or traditional knowledge provides evidence of prior informed consent through approval of authorities from the country of origin.

According to officials, while some of the developed countries were in support of the proposal, they do not want any legal recourse on it.

In fact, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath had written to 30 WTO member countries, but there has been no response from them so far.

Some of the countries fear that if one amendment is carried out it would open a can of worms and other countries too would want to bring in amendments.

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