Ægte pirater – multinationale tager patent på planter, folk har brugt i årtusinder

… som Cory Doctorow skriver på Boing Boing:

if you want to see what real piracy looks like, look at the bio-pirates, people and corporations who receive patents on common life-forms from the developing world (abetted by the sleepy and lackadaisical US Patent and Trademark Office) and then use their might and muscle to tax people for growing, consuming and exporting the plants they’ve lived with for centuries, on the grounds that these plants are now some rich person’s property.

One such injustice is finally drawing to a close. US Patent Number 5,894,079, belonging Colorado’s Larry Proctor, has been struck down. Proctor brought home some yellow beans from a Mexican market and filed for a patent on them in the 1990s, neglecting to tell the USPTO that the beans had been a dietary staple in latinamerica for over a century.

Proctor called them “Enola beans” and began to receive a toll on every Enola bean imported into the US from latinamerica. He used this money to fund a series of defenses to challenges on his patent. Because the patent system continues to enforce challenged patents while the gears of litigation turn, for every year that went by, Proctor found himself richer and better-able to fund his defense, while the people who had grown and eaten the beans for a century got poorer.

Proctor still has the right to appeal his patent up to the Supreme Court, of course.

CIAT officials said that, while they were concerned about the immediate economic impact of the Enola patent, more broadly, they worried that the patent would establish a precedent threatening public access to plant germplasm-the genetic material that comprises the inherited qualities of an organism-held in trust by CIAT and research centers worldwide. The CIAT genebank is one of 11 maintained worldwide by the CGIAR, where crop materials such as seeds, stems and tubers are held in trust with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The genebanks house a total of about 600,000 plant varieties in publicly accessible collections, which are viewed as the pillar of global efforts to conserve agriculture biodiversity and maintain global food security. Plant breeders in both the public and private sectors are constantly seeking access to these resources to help them breed new types of crop varieties, particularly when existing varieties are threatened by pests or disease.

Link: US Patent Office rejects US company’s patent protection for bean commonly grown by Latin American farmers‘ (via Boing Boing)

Irak: Lad os alle plyndre

Eller rettere sagt – lad de store, primært amerikanske, firmaer plyndre:

The proposed Iraqi oil law would put effective control of most of Iraq’s vast oil resources into the hands of foreign companies and make a mockery of any real Iraqi sovereignty…

Fagforeninger er vi heller ikke glade for:

Long before the present regime took power, the U.S. had identified organized labor in Iraq as its adversary. President Bush sent Paul Bremer to Iraq to set up the occupation authority. He threw out much of Saddam Hussein’s legal code, disbanded the military and began playing “divide and conquer” with religious sects and ethnic, regional and tribal groups. But there was at least one law he kept on the books and enforced. That was Saddam’s 1987 Decree No. 150 that made it illegal for employees in the public sector and publicly owned enterprises (80% of all Iraqi workers) to have a union or negotiate over the terms of their labor. The Maliki government has continued to enforce this anti-labor edict of the dictatorship, despite the fact that the new constitution calls for enactment of a basic labor rights law, and that Decree No. 150 violates the internationally recognized fundamental rights of workers defined by International Labor Organization (UN) Conventions on the rights to organize, bargain and strike.

In Iraq today, union bank accounts have been frozen, union offices have been raided and ransacked by both U.S. and Iraqi forces, government ministers have ordered managers not to recognize or deal with unions (especially in the oil sector), union leaders have been beaten, arrested, kidnapped and assassinated.22 No democratic society can develop where workers are not free to organize into the unions of their choice, and where unions are not free from government control or interference.