By Vandana Shiva
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Additional info for Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge
Patent and Trademark Office struck down most sections of the Basmati patent. Syngenta’s Attempt at Biopiracy of India’s Rice Diversity Syngenta, the biotech giant, tried to grab the precious collections of 22,972 varieties of paddy, India’s rice diversity, from Chattisgarh in India. It had signed a MoU with the Indira Gandhi Agricultural University (IGAU) for access to Dr. Richharia’s priceless collection of rice diversity, which he had looked after as if the rice varieties were his own children.
He needs money for metal and tools. Should he use the money saved under the mattress? Should he take a bus across town to ask his sister’s husband for a loan? The answer to each question is strongly biased toward the negative by weak intellectual property protection. Without thinking much about intellectual property, his wife, the brother-in-law and Carlos himself each knows from Community wisdom that his idea is vulnerable and likely to be taken by others. He cannot take for granted that his idea can be protected.
Patents on life enclose the creativity inherent to living systems that reproduce and multiply in self-organized freedom. They enclose the interior spaces of the bodies of women, plants, and animals. They also enclose the free spaces of intellectual creativity by transforming publicly generated knowledge into private property. Intellectual property rights on life-forms are supposed to reward and stimulate creativity. Their impact is actually the opposite—to stifle the creativity intrinsic to life-forms and the social production of knowledge.