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Patent troubles

Anchalee Kongrut
Bangkok Post

(Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- Ammar Siamwalla, a senior economist, was cited as saying yesterday that biotechnology and patent laws could lead to a host of conflicts between developed and developing nations, and that fear of biotechnology in Thailand has been misplaced and narrowly focused on the safety of consuming genetically modified crops, adding, "From the perspective of an economist, the issue at the heart of the biotechnology problem is that the new technology is not equally distributed and belongs to only a few transnational companies."

Michael Blakeney, director of Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute, University of London, was cited as saying that developing countries hold only 6% of biotechnology patents while developed nations hold the rest.

Jakkrit Kuanpote, a lecturer on patent law, said opposition to biotechnology in Thailand was mainly due to a lack of laws governing benefit-sharing.

Thailand has yet to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity, which advocates the opening up of biological resources for research with the condition that any benefits derived from such research be shared with nations or communities owning the resources.

Thailand, however, has passed the Plant Variety Act to guard against biopiracy since 1999 but a specific law guiding benefit-sharing is yet to be written.

Source:Bangkok Post via AgNet