India heads for a bio piracy showdown

By agencies   |   Friday, 09 June 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India wants inventors to disclose the origin of genetic resources to prevent companies from stealing traditional knowledge or national assets. However the U.S. says the proposal is both unworkable and unneeded.

Such a rule change would slow or halt patent approval for plant breeding or goods ranging from medicines and cosmetics to chemicals and foodstuffs. The U.S. says the proposed changes to the World Trade Organization's intellectual property rules would ``undermine the patent system'' and ``stifle innovation'' rather than thwarting so-called bio-piracy.

The clash pits China, Cuba, Venezuela, Thailand and Tanzania, as well as India, Peru and Brazil, against the European Union, the U.S., Australia and Japan and threatens to further damage already tense negotiations at the WTO.

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