China’s Main Competitor in Space Exploration is India, Not Russia

Interesting article! Thank you!

Dark Matter Space


China’s principal competitor in space exploration is India, not Russia, researcher at the Russian Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Vasily Kashin told RIA Novosti on Friday.

“China and India are two new space powers. They have vast resources and consider their space programs from the national prestige perspective ,” the expert said.

He added that China and India are following Russian and US footsteps in space exploration.

“China’s more developed space-rocket industry and immense resources have let it take the lead in the two countries’ space race,” Kashin argued.

Despite being behind China in space exploration, India has a significant advantage, according to the researcher.

“China is still under rigid restrictions on any form of cooperation with the United States, including on the purchase of components…The Chinese are forced to do many things on their own and they sometimes cannot produce components of a required level. The Indians…

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Remedies in Patent Infringement Cases in Taiwan

Francisco A. Laguna & Jimmy Wang

Last week, we discussed some general aspects of direct patent infringement cases in Taiwan.  Today, we look at the specific issue of remedies.

Satellite picture of Taiwan Photo Credit: Jeff Schmaltz via Wikimedia Commons

Satellite picture of Taiwan
Photo Credit: Jeff Schmaltz via Wikimedia Commons

In Taiwan, two basic remedies exist for patent infringement cases: damages; and injunctive relief. If damages are awarded, the court may calculate the amount applying any of the following methods:

  • the method provided by Article 216 of the Civil Code – If the patent holder cannot prove the amount of damages definitively, the owner may claim damages determined by subtracting the profit earned through the legal exploitation of the patent post-infringement from the profit such legal exploitation would normally be expected to generate;
  • the profit earned by the infringer; or
  • the amount of royalties that may have been collected pursuant to a licensing agreement. Continue reading

India – Efforts Taken to Protect Against the Bio-Piracy

Francisco A. Laguna & Priya Lamba

Despite the challenges it still faces, India has made considerable progress in a short period of time when it comes to the protection of its biodiversity and traditional knowledge. As a member of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), India identified the following as some of its main goals in its National Policy and Macrolevel Action Strategy on Biodiversity (1999): securing the participation of State Governments, local communities and people, NGOs, industry and other interested parties; realizing the value of biodiversity through research and development; and ensuring that India gets the benefits as being the country of origin of biological resources, and that its indigenous communities and people get the benefits as being the conservers of biodiversity, creators and holders of traditional knowledge systems, innovations, and practices. This week’s blog will focus on the legislative and proactive steps India has taken in recent years.

Photo Credit: Nivedita Patil via Wikipedia Commons

Photo Credit: Nivedita Patil via Wikipedia Commons

India passed the Plant Varieties Protection and Farmers’ Rights Act (PVPFR) 2001, followed by the PVPFR Rules 2003. These two pieces of legislation ensure the protection of plant breeders’ rights over new varieties they develop and give farmers the entitlement to register new varieties and also to save, breed, use, exchange, share or sell the plant varieties that farmers have developed, improved and maintained over many generations. India also ratified the Patent Second Amendment Act 2002 and Patent Third Amendment Act 2005, amending its Patents Act 1970. These amendments prohibit the granting of patents for plants, animals, and traditional knowledge. Furthermore, India’s patent laws now require “mandatory disclosure of source and geographical origin of the biological material in the specification when used in an invention.” Should a party fail to disclose this information, or participate in wrongful-disclosure, then the amendments permit opposition to, or revocation of, the patent. Continue reading

India – Bio-Piracy a Strong Argument in Challenging Patents

Francisco A. Laguna & Priya Lamba

Growing up, Priya’s South Aisan family cooked with neem, haldi (turmeric), karela (bitter-gourd), and basmati rice. Raised in Northern Virginia, her family knew that turmeric was a great herbal remedy for the common cold, for evening out skin tone and for cuts and burns. Neem was used for clearing acne and curing dry skin. Karela, a vegetable she did not particularly like as a child, was taken by her grandparents, aunts and uncles to help control diabetes. This was not knowledge gained through research, but rather knowledge imparted by her ancestors, passed on from one generation to the next. It is this type of traditional knowledge that the Indian government and Indian organizations have been arguing is not patentable because it constitutes prior art, lacking any novelty. In the eyes of the Indian government, patenting this type of traditional knowledge amounts to bio-piracy, and the argument has proven to be successful in the United States, Europe as well as India.

Photo Credit: Sankarshansen via Wikipedia Commons

Photo Credit: Sankarshansen via Wikipedia Commons

When the University of Mississippi Medical Center was granted a patent for the wound-healing properties of turmeric in March 1995, the Indian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) challenged the patent on the grounds that it did not contain prior art because the wound-healing properties of turmeric were common, traditional knowledge in India. The CSIR presented ancient Sanskrit texts as well as a paper published in 1953 in the Journal of the Indian Medical Association documenting this traditional knowledge. The objection was upheld by the USPTO, and the patent was cancelled.

Similarly, when WR Grace and the U.S. Department of Agriculture were granted a patent for an anti-fungal product derived from neem, the EU Parliament’s Green Party, India-based Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) challenged the patent on the grounds that the fungicide qualities of neem and its use had been traditional knowledge in India for over 2,000 years. In 2000, the European Patent Office upheld “that the patent amounted to bio-piracy” and that the process for which it was “granted had been actually in use in India from time immemorial.” Although this decision was appealed, the appeal was lost and the patent was successfully revoked in 2005.

Photo Credit: H. Zell via Wikipedia Commons

Photo Credit: H. Zell via Wikipedia Commons

More recently, this past November 2012, the Indian government revoked a patent granted by the Indian Patents Office. The patent was for a diabetes medicine made from the extract of jamun (native Indian evergreen tree), lavangpatti, and chandan (sandalwood). The patent was revoked on the grounds that it was prejudicial to the public interest because the use of these plant extracts to control diabetes has long been an integral part of ayurvedic medicine. Avesthagen, the drug maker holding the patent, presented an interesting argument: the patent was not prejudicial and was novel because it scientifically validated Indian traditional knowledge. However, the government held the view “that a patent cannot be granted for validating something that is part of traditional knowledge.” This recent case has led to the challenging of other Indian patents that originated from traditional knowledge, including those granted for the medicinal uses of amla (gooseberry), methi (fenugreek), and ashwagandha (Indian ginseng).

As these cases demonstrate, striking a balance between the protection of traditional knowledge and the promotion of biotechnology continues to be a prevalent issue. Next week, we will discuss the steps India has taken in an effort to achieve this balance.

TransLegal has strategized with clients to work with indigenous communities and achieve benefit sharing agreements for access to genetic samples and their traditional knowledge. Contact us to discuss these and other issues related to bioprospecting in India and other countries.