We’re starting a new section, where we intend to pick up interesting comments by readers and post them on the blog. As many of you know, you can comment on any one of our posts by visiting the blog and clicking on the “comments” tab at the end of each post. Anyway, of the recent posts, we found the following to be the most interesting (“spicy”):
1. Shamnad’s post on JC Bose and his aversion to Patenting:
Prof Rajesh Kochhar (Director, National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies, New Delhi) writes:
” J C Bose is not the inventer of wireless. He is one of the earliet experimentalists.He took to lab work on what are today called microwaves after reading Hertz’ obituary in Nature.European scientists were using metal to make their radio receivers and transmitters.
Since metal rusts in damp Bengal, Bose experimented with a whole lot of new substances, thus greatly enriching the new field of radio science.More than not patenting or not encashing the patent, it was his leaving physics altogether, that in retrospect prevented technical physics from taking roots in India ( cf . P.C. Ray’s success with chemistry).
If Bose had been asked to choose between a physics Nobel prize and mainstream recognition for his plant physiology work , he would probably have chosen the latter.Let us keep in mind that those were the days when respect from the West was more desired than wealth.This is understandavble keeping in mind the class composition of the then native leadership.
It is paradoxcal that an Indian professor of physics was refusing to patent, while a spiritual lady ( Sister Nivedita) because of her industrial background was trying to interest him in royalties. Paradoxically , Bose had no compunction in accepting donnation from a western wealthy lady mrs Sarah Bull., Bose it would seem was seduced into spirituality by Tagore and others.”
Speaking of IP and Spirituality, readers may find the following quote by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar-ji interesting:
“India should be smarter and start claiming patents due to us. Now, the nation reacts only after somebody else takes away, say, a tulsi or a turmeric patent.”
This was in a piece in the Hindu titled “No conflict in India between science and spirituality”. Given that SpicyIP has been advocating the “Middle Path” in IP disputes, this is a very timely comment. We only wish that Sri Sri-ji had been around during JC Bose’s time to educate him on this and to ease his conscience whilst seeking out patents!!
2. Mrinalini’s post on Piracy:
Sunil Abraham of Mahiti comments:
“In my humble opinion – the illegal market contributes to the expansion of the legal market. We should be focusing on Practical Solutions to promoting Piracy!
Please see: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070901-movie-biz-obsesses-about-pirates-even-as-it-plunders-the-box-office.html http://www.mediabynumbers.com/userfiles/file/Media%20By%20Numbers%20Summer%20Movie%20Statistics(2).pdf
And later, he writes:
“The study then took a surprising twist. Popular music will often have both high downloads and high sales figures, so what the researchers wanted was a way to test for effects on albums sales when file-sharing activity was increased on account of something other than US song popularity.” I have been looking at leaked albums specifically. See: http://del.icio.us/golisoda/leaked Even though albums are leaking one month before the official lauch date on high profile torrent sites – the artist seem to be outdoing their previous release on the charts. Some of the record labels have started leaking albums on purpose. And television studios are following suit.
So it looks like the industry, artists and fans are happy with piracy. Enlightened corporations are even giving up DRM. So only lawyers and lobbyists are complaining about piracy these days.
See: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2094/125/ http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2097/125/
3. Shamnad’s post on Novartis’s threat to move investments to China:
A friend who wishes to remain anonymous writes:
“Good piece. Sums up the position well.
Another factoid: Novartis’ generic arm Sandoz ‘expanded’ its R&D centre in India, situated near Mumbai, a couple of years back. It poached quite a few Ranbaxy personnel with great promises of cutting edge work. There was only cut and no edge. They treated these guys as mere hands and used them to just validate the work done in Kundl, Austria, the then R&D HQ of Sandoz. Almost all of them have left and what remains is a pathetic little unit inside their manufacturing plant. That’s investment in R&D for you.
And, Sandoz has recently challenged the Method of Use patent on Lilly’s atomoxetine (Strattera®). They have alleged that the patent is invalid. They have every right to do so, if they believe what they are saying. Lilly has sued them. Which too is fair enough. That’s how system should work. As you have very rightly pointed out, by falling into the NGO trap of getting into verbal duels and posturing, Novartis has lost what little support they could otherwise have had. In such matters, some companies are wise and others are otherwise. Novartis, has proved to be otherwise.”
Now, if only we had many more anonymous commentators with such incisive views!!
4. Shamnad’s post on Novartis and its flawed patent strategy:
Prof Martin Adelman writes:
“Dear Shamnad: I am not sure that Roche will go anywhere with its quiet strategy. If it does, it probably will be because Novartis is making a lot of noise. I agree that 3(d) could be interpretated so as to totally compatible with TRIPS by rendering it meaningless which is the proper interpretation.
If Novartis keeps up its pressure, after it is rejected by the biased appellate board, it will have a go in the Chennai High Court unless the appellate board to show it is unbiased approves of its patent. You have to remember that from Novartis’s point of view there should be no patent issue in India because Novartis should be able to rely on its genus patent, a patent which is undoubtedly valid.”
Dr Gopakumar Nair of Gopakumar Nair Associates (and past president of IDMA) comments:
“Dear Shamnaad, I am sorry to clarify that it is not fair to say that Indian Patent Office, Especially, Chennai Patent Office is biased. Please see the report which I am quoting from patent circle. (documentary support is available in Patent Office Journal ).
I Quote !
Novartis received Indian Patent for Benflumetol derivatives Novartis has received an Indian Patent Number 203536 (the ‘536 patent) titled Benflumetol derivatives against its patent application numbered IN/PCT/2000/884/CHE via PCT national phase. The ‘536 patent is directed to compound of formula I claiming priority from Swiss Patent Application No. 1351/98 dated June 25, 1998. The ‘536 patent is a mail-box application filed under section 5(2) of the Patents Act, 1970 which was later deleted by the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005. The application for the ‘536 patent entered Indian national phase via International Application No. PCT/EP1999/004355 filed June 23, 1999 and published as WO1999/067197 dated December 29, 1999. The ‘536 patent is Indian equivalent of the U.S. Patent No. 6,329,552. Unquote !
This Patent is granted by Chennai Patent Office .”
5. Aysha’s post on China and Counterfeiting:
Professor Srividya Raghavan writes:
“I do not understand Ms. Shaukat’s post in SpicyIP. So now, we want US to take China to the WTO DSU? Has anyone been to New York and seen the extent of pirated materials that is there. You might want to contact Professor Peter Yu at Drake – he will give a fuller picture of the issues involved.
But this is the part of Ms. Shaukat’s post that baffles me – if we are happy that US is taking China to the DSU, then is India now all TRIPS happy? Then, why do we whine about pharmaceutical patents and patenting of plant varieties. Either we have a problem with the working of IP because it creates a privilege and marginalizes the poor (be it from mickey mouse or from Gleevec) or we don’t and we can become flag bearers of TRIPS. We surely cannot have it both ways.”
Of course, some of the above comments have been replied to and if you’re interested, you could look at the comments on the blog. Also, there are plenty of interesting comments on other posts. We welcome you to take a look at these and comment on them (either the post or the comments that they elicited), if you think they are worth commenting on.