SpicyIP Tidbits: Of real estate, the pharma Nano, & open access


Most of the interesting stories have been blogged about already, leaving little for this edition of Tidbits! Nevertheless, we dug out a few interesting stories that caught the eye recently:

1. Punjab Univ dean proposes new model to share IP Rights here

Prof Daljit Singh, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University, has proposed a new model for IPR sharing, similar to the strategies being applied for realty development.

He drew attention to the real estate development models, where, while conceding the rights of the realty developer or landowner, some portion of land is reserved for the general public, in the form of parks, etc. The same principle can, and must be, applied to intellectual property rights also, he said.

Comparisons, they say, are odious. But the parallels between pharma and realty are interesting indeed. The question is do realty developers actually reserve public space these days? I know of some undeveloped spaces in the heart of prime-estate south Delhi owned by a large real-estate group, immanently ‘park’-worthy, that are not at all accessible…

2. ET has exclusive information that “Two Wadia group companies — Kalabakan Investments and Bombay Burmah Trading — are set to buy Danone’s 25.1% stake in cookie major Britannia parked in a UK joint venture entity Associated Biscuits International Holdings (ABIH).”

Part of the deal appears to be that “Mr Wadia will a legal case and a complaint to the Indian government about the French partner violating JV norms. People close to the deal said the Indian partner appears to have agreed in-principle not to pursue a complaint about Danone violating the Press Note 1, and a legal case in Bombay High Court against its investment in Bangalore-based bio-nutritional company Avesthagen.

However, Britannia’s IP complaint against Danone — that it registered and used the Tiger trademark without permission in overseas markets — will be separately resolved through an ongoing arbitration in Singapore. SpicyIP has posted about this earlier.

3. An interesting profile-interview of Wockhardt’s chief Habil Khorakiwala, who had a thing or two to say about the Indian pharma industry, was in TOI the other day:

He argues that the balance sheet of multinational companies have a lot of costs loaded in them that can be slashed. Typically, the cost of manufacturing accounts for 8-9%, research 15%, other costs work out to 50% and the rest are margins. “We need to work out an equivalent of the Nano (Tata’s Rs 1 lakh car) for medicines in India.”

Although the argument itself is old, some credit is due to the Tatas for having brought a whole nuance to the word ‘nano’ in the Indian lexicon.

4. Open access publishing takes off in India

Frederick Noronha of IANS writes about the growth of open access academic resources:

A small but growing number of Indian journals are moving to the free open access format of internet publishing.

“Many leading journals published in India are already open access. These include the journals published by the Indian Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy, Indian Council of Medical Research and the Calicut Medical College,” Subbiah Arunachalam, a prominent Indian campaigner for open access, told IANS.

…Both the government of India-run National Informatics Centre and the Mumbai-based private firm MedKnow publish open access journals on behalf of about 75 societies.

“India publishes about 100 OA journals. Actually, these are hybrid journals – print plus electronic, with the print version sold against a subscription. No Indian journal charges a fee from the authors for publishing papers,” said Arunachalam.

5. Rahman runs from Bollywood, according to this report, allegedly because of copyright and royalty issues:

A R Rahman is deliberately turning down big assignments here because of copyright and royalty issues regarding music sales. The reticent retainer of the raga and rhythm is reluctant to discuss the issue.

“It’s too complicated. But, yes, the issues do stop me from accepting more Bollywood offers. Those who want to work with me in Mumbai but won’t agree to my conditions, are going to other composers…”

Of course, Rahman has other distractions, like his Western-classical music conservatory (which the article goes on to talk about), and this rather sad reality TV show. But still, I am curious to know what his conditions are that prevent him thus…

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