Patents – Myths and Reality

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“The effects of globalized patent regimes on our heritage, economy

and even our daily lives

Basmati varieties of rice have been taken from India to be grown in the US and are sold worldwide under the trade name basmati.

Neem-based biopesticides and drugs based on the diabetic properties of karela are sold globally by multi-national companies at enormous profit.

In today’s world, patents affect all of us – whether we are farmers whose right to save seed is threatened, or consumers whose right to food and medicine is eroded, or researchers whose freedom to exchange knowledge is blocked.  This book examines the myths associated with the universalization of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) in the context of trade liberalization, and the real consequences of implementing such a regime.  It thus demystifies patent laws and highlights the ethical, ecological and economic impacts of globalized patent regimes.

Dr.Vandana Shiva details how under intellectual property rights laws natural resources are taken by western corporations without recognition or payment; how local communities are prevented from using their centuries-old knowledge by corporations who have patented that knowledge; and how Third World countries are forced to buy products based on their indigenous knowledge at much higher prices than if they were produced locally.  The book also explains the historical role of patents and provides an analysis of the way forward that should be taken by governments and individuals for a more balanced patent regime.

A must read for all those concerned with issues of ecology and equity, preserving knowledge and diversity, and the shaping of laws which govern our society.”

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