Patents: a mechanism for looting the scientific knowledge

Written by PSTU – Argentina
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 15:03
In the international division of labor, undoubtedly, the role of raw materials and natural resources exporter is imposed on Latin America.
The control over them has led the imperialist countries to develop legal structures that allow the patenting of life forms and the knowledge associated with them. Everything embodied in arrangements of intellectual property laws imposed by the WTO (World Trade Organization), WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization, connected to UN), by the free trade agreements, among other regulatory structures that allow patents without limitations or exceptions.
Currently, there are numerous patents of medicinal plants, species of food and agro-industrial crops, adequately cultivated, and also of domestic and laboratory animals, and even genes and human cells.
These patents are owned by a few companies like Monsanto, DuPont, Aventis, Syngenta, Merck, among others. Thus, there is no question that the large multinational corporations are the companies benefited from this patents scheme.
A research published in the Journal of Technology Management & Innovation (2012, Vol.7, Issue 2, pages184-94) identifies scientific and technological knowledge originated and funded by the National University of Quilmes (UNQ – Argentina) which ended up going abroad. The article points out that the Argentinean public universities develop expertise with industrial application potential that are appropriated by transnational companies in the United States, Japan, Israel and Spain.
A study conducted by Manuel Krauskopf (2007) analyzes the scientific research in Chile and its impact on patented technologies in the United States between 1984 and 2003. The study observed that the local research was not used by the domestic industry, but by the US companies that took possession of the research and development results in Chile. Thus, the Latin American universities develop knowledge with potential for industrial applications, but without legal protection, to the service of the multinationals plundering.
In Argentina, in the biomedicine area, between 1999 and 2010, about 53% of the patents were appropriated by Bayer Schering Pharma (Germany), Isis Pharmaceuticals, Trubion Pharmaceuticals, Tracie Martyn International Ltd. and Dionex Corp. (United States), which would serve for the possible production of new medicinal products. And about 30% were appropriated by institutions such as the Waissman Institute of Israel, the University of North Carolina, the Georgia State University Research Foundation, the University Complutense of Madrid, and the Tokyo University of Science, among others, that will be transferred to the industry.

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