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WIPO Going After Frankenstein Plant Seeds Now
Categories: Politics

So remember WIPO… the entiy that wants to protect multibilliondollar broadcasters at the expense of independent ones? Well now they’re after our food supply as well! Better keep watching TV.

Intellectual Property Watch » Questions Raised Over Proposed WIPO Secretariat Deals With FAO, IDB
The World Intellectual Property Organization has negotiated cooperation agreements with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and is seeking approval of its member countries at this week’s annual General Assembly. But at least one country, Brazil, has questioned on whose authority WIPO negotiated the arrangements, and how they would fit with the mandates of those organisations.

“We don’t want the [IDB and FAO] to be contaminated with the non-development friendly approach of WIPO,� a senior Brazilian diplomat told Intellectual Property Watch. WIPO agreements should be negotiated under the direction of its member states, the official added. The assembly ends on 3 October.

WIPO was not reached for comment for this story.

The agreements, listed under WIPO document WO/CC/55/2, would put WIPO into a key role on matters related to intellectual property at the organisations.

“WIPO becomes the only central entity for expressing expertise on intellectual property in those bodies,� the official said, adding that it might be lucrative for WIPO.

But WIPO’s mandate, to protect and advance intellectual property rights, might be at odds with the organisations’ missions, which generally aim to promote access, the “common welfare,� and development.

For instance, the FAO aims first to promote access to food and raising nutrition levels, rather than the protection of seeds, which might be the perspective of one promoting protection of intellectual property rights first. A current debate is the rise in industry efforts to file patents over seeds, some of which may be seen as traditionally used by developing country cultures. Such issues also are addressed by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), which is housed at WIPO.

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