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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  June 2005

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE June 2005

Subject:

Nanotech's "Second Nature" Patents

From:

Carmelo Ruiz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 16 Jun 2005 09:37:08 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (255 lines)

--- [log in to unmask] wrote:


> Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005
> Subject: ETC Group: Nanotech's "Second Nature"
> Patents
>
>
>
> ETC Group
> News Release
> 16 June 2005
> www.etcgroup.org
>
>
> ETC Group Releases New Report on Nanotechnology and
> Intellectual
> Property:
>
> Nanotech's "Second Nature" Patents
>
>
> The full text of the 36-page report is available
> here:
> http://www.etcgroup.org/article.asp?newsid=509
>
> Twenty-five years after the biotech industry got the
> green light to
> patent life, nanotech goes after the building blocks
> of life.
>
> On the 25th anniversary of Diamond vs. Chakrabarty,*
> the US Supreme
> Court's landmark decision (June 16, 1980) that
> opened the floodgates to
> the patenting of living organisms, ETC Group
> releases a new report,
> "Nanotech's 'Second Nature' Patents."
>
> Since Chakrabarty, the biotech industry has worked
> hand-in-hand with
> governments to allow for the patenting of all
> biological products - the
> first monopoly grab over life. Chakrabarty set the
> stage for today's
> nanotechnology patents, where the reach of exclusive
> monopoly is not
> just on life - but the building blocks of life -
> nanotech's 'second
> nature' patents," explains Hope Shand, Research
> Director of ETC Group.
>
> ETC Group's new report examines current trends in
> intellectual property
> and nanotechnology and the implications for the
> developing world.
> Nanotechnology refers to the manipulation of matter
> at the scale of
> atoms and molecules, where size is measured in
> billionths of meters.
>
> The world's largest transnationals, leading academic
> labs and nanotech
> start-ups are all racing to win monopoly control of
> tiny tech's
> colossal market. "Control and ownership of nanotech
> is a vital issue
> for all governments and civil society because
> nanomaterials and
> processes can be applied to virtually any
> manufactured good across all
> industry sectors," said Kathy Jo Wetter of ETC
> Group. "Patents are
> being granted that cut across multiple industry
> sectors - a single
> nano-scale innovation may span pharma, food,
> electronics and materials
> alike," continues Wetter.  The US National Science
> Foundation predicts
> that nanotechnology will capture a $1 trillion
> dollar market within six
> or seven years.
>
> ETC Group finds that breathtakingly broad nanotech
> patents have been
> granted that cut across multiple industry sectors
> and include sweeping
> claims on entire areas of the Periodic Table.
> Although industry
> analysts assert that nanotechnology is in its
> infancy, "patent
> thickets" on fundamental nano-scale materials, tools
> and processes are
> already creating thorny barriers for would-be
> innovators. Claims are
> often broad, overlapping and conflicting - a
> scenario ripe for massive
> patent litigation battles in the future.
>
> ETC Group's report provides case studies of patent
> activity involving
> four of nanotech's hottest and potentially most
> lucrative nanomaterials
> and one essential tool: carbon nanotubes; inorganic
> nanostructures;
> quantum dots; dendrimers; scanning probe
> microscopes.
>
> G8: Downsizing Development? When the G8 Summit meets
> in Scotland next
> month, the leaders of the world's most powerful
> countries will unveil a
> "Pro-Poor Science" strategy to turn new technologies
> like nanotech into
> a silver bullet for social injustice.
>
> "Despite rosy predictions that nanotech will provide
> a technical fix
> for hunger, disease and the environment, the
> extraordinary pace of
> nanotech patenting suggests that developing nations
> will participate
> primarily via royalty payments," said Pat Mooney,
> Executive Director of
> ETC Group. "In a world dominated by proprietary
> science, researchers in
> the global South are likely to find that
> participation in the nanotech
> revolution is highly restricted by patent
> tollbooths, obliging them to
> pay royalties and licensing fees to gain access,"
> said Mooney.
>
> "Ultimately, nanotech will profoundly affect the
> South's economy,
> regardless of its handling of intellectual
> property," explains Silvia
> Ribeiro from ETC Group's Mexico City office.
> "Nano-scale technologies
> will revolutionize the way that new materials are
> designed and
> manufactured - changes that could turn commodity
> markets upside-down
> and make geography, raw materials, even labour,
> irrelevant. Nanotech
> underpins a new strategic platform for global
> control of materials,
> food, agriculture and health, and patent monopoly is
> a powerful tool
> for realizing that strategy," said Ribeiro.
>
> Many South nations are still grappling with
> unresolved controversies
> over biotechnology, but by the end of this year,
> ready or not, even the
> world's "least developed" nations who are members of
> the World Trade
> Organization will be obligated by its Trade-Related
> Aspects of
> Intellectual Property (WTO-TRIPs) to evaluate and
> enforce nanotech
> patents.
>
> Lessons learned from Diamond v. Chakrabarty: Despite
> all the hype about
> Mr. Chakrabarty's oil-eating microbe and how it
> would gobble up oil
> spills, the patented microorganism never worked.
> Instead of curing
> environmental ills, the biotech industry has
> introduced its own
> contamination problems - unwanted gene flow from
> genetically modified
> crops, a particularly serious problem for centres of
> genetic diversity
> in the developing world.
>
> Unlike 25 years ago, today's nanotech-related
> patents have not required
> major rule changes. As a result, many governments
> are unaware of the
> nanotech patent rush. ETC Group recommends that the
> World Intellectual
> Property Organization (WIPO) initiate a global
> suspension of patent
> approvals related to nanotechnology until South
> governments and
> countries-in-transition can undertake a full
> evaluation of their
> impacts, and until social movements can cooperate
> with WIPO, the Food
> and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United
> Nations Conference on
> Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to examine the impact
> of
> nanotech-related intellectual property on monopoly
> practices,
> technology transfer and trade.
>
> The full text of the 36-page report is available for
> downloading,
> free-of-charge,
> on the ETC Group website:
> http://www.etcgroup.org/article.asp?newsid=509
>
>
> For more information:
>
> Hope Shand: [log in to unmask]  Carrboro, NC (USA)
> +1 919 960-5767
> Pat Mooney:  [log in to unmask]   Ottawa, ON (Canada)
> +1 613 241-2267
> Kathy Jo Wetter: [log in to unmask]  Carrboro, NC
> (USA) +1 919 960-5223
> Silvia Ribeiro: [log in to unmask]  Mexico City
> (Mexico) +52 5555 632664
> Jim Thomas: [log in to unmask] Oxford (UK) +44 7752
> 106806
>
> *Note to Editors: In 1971, Ananda Chakrabarty, an
> employee of General
> Electric, applied for a patent on a genetically
> modified oil-eating
> microbe. The US Patent & Trademark Office rejected
> his patent
> application on the grounds that animate life forms
> were not patentable.
>   On June 16, 1980 by a narrow 5-4 margin, the US
> Supreme Court ruled
> that Chakrabarty's oil-eating microbe was not a
> product of nature;
> living organisms could be seen as human made
> inventions and are
> therefore patentable subject matter.
> _______________________________________________
> ETC Group mailing list
> http://lists.etcgroup.org/mailman/listinfo/etcgroup
>


=========================================

Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero
Director, Proyecto de Bioseguridad http://www.bioseguridad.blogspot.com
Research Associate, Institute for Social Ecology http://www.social-ecology.org/
Senior Fellow, Environmental Leadership Program http://www.elpnet.org/

http://carmeloruiz.blogspot.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/carmeloruiz/

__________________________________________________
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