`The frequent incidence of bio piracy only goes to reveal the hypocritic attitude of Western scientists towards indigenous knowledge.'

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram, March 9

THE Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, has emphasised the need for devising an effective mechanism to enforce intellectual property protection so that creativity and innovation get the required boost.

Inaugurating the seventh national interactive meeting of Patent Information Centres here, Mr Chandy said only such a mechanism could ensure the sustenance of cultural, scientific, technological and industrial development of the country.

According to him, Western science has recently begun looking at the country's wealth of indigenous knowledge as a source for evolving new drug formulations, especially since the cost of developing new drugs has become prohibitively high. The frequent incidence of bio piracy only goes to reveal the somewhat hypocritic attitude of Western scientists towards indigenous knowledge.

Despite the growing recognition of indigenous knowledge as a valuable resource, Western intellectual property law continues to treat it as part of the `public domain'. Diverse forms of this traditional knowledge have been appropriated as intellectual property rights by researchers and commercial enterprises, without compensating the original creators or possessors of the knowledge.

The current industrial scenario is characterised by the shortening of the techno-economic cycle, Mr Chandy said. Accessing critical technologies involves huge costs, apart from myriad other difficulties. Adequate steps are needed to ensure technology development.

The link between universities, R&D institutions and industry is essential for contributing for technological development and technology transfer. R&D standards are also mandatory for various products and services for effective commercialisation of technologies.

"We should also work for removal of technical barriers to trade through accreditation process with national and international bodies," Mr Chandy added.

It is for the first time that a national interactive meeting of Patent Information Centres is being held in south India. The Kerala State Council for Science and Technology is hosting the meeting, the Director, Dr K.R.S. Krishnan said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 10, 2005)
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