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4-Patents: Indonesian NGOs campaign against 'unfair' biopiracy



----------------------------- GENET-news -----------------------------

TITLE:  NGO seminar urges campaign against 'unfair' biopiracy
SOURCE: The Jakarta Post, Indonesia
        sent by GRAIN, BIO-IPR docserver
DATE:   March 20, 2000

-------------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------


NGO seminar urges campaign against 'unfair' biopiracy

JAKARTA (JP): Activists urged on Saturday a further delay of the 
enforcement of trade related aspects of intellectual property rights, 
which should have begun in January. In a workshop on the piracy of 
biological resources, or biopiracy, activists asserted that the 
interests of local communities, who are said to own these resources, 
had yet to be protected by law. The House of Representatives will 
hold a hearing on Monday with the government about a draft on patent 
regulation.

"People aren't ready to use patents, and developed countries are 
abusing this for their own interests," said Tini Hadad, an executive 
board member of the Indonesian Consumers Foundation. In view of this 
Tini said the enforcement of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects 
of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) here should be delayed. 
Indonesia signed the agreement at the World Trade Organization (WTO) 
conference in Morocco in 1994. It was ratified in Law No. 13/1997. 
However, the law is to be reviewed to better meet WTO standards, thus 
delaying the agreed time of enforcement, which was set for January 
2000.

Riza Tjahjadi, who chairs the Pesticide Action Network in Indonesia, 
said the hearing was believed to be in anticipation of the review on 
TRIPS by WTO next June. State Minister of Environment Sonny Keraf, 
who addressed the workshop, described biopiracy as a new form of 
imperialism noting that developed states benefited from developing 
countries' slow anticipation of patents. "It's ridiculous if we have 
to pay to use herbs growing in our land which we've used since 
ancient times," Sonny said.

The minister said a patent is an acknowledgment of intellectual 
rights, but added it was not fair to patent biological diversity. 
Riza said Shiseido, a well-known Japanese cosmetic firm, had quietly 
patented several local traditional formulas of herbs and spices. 
Among the formulas patented by Shiseido were antiaging agents made 
from Sambiloto (Andrographis panicurata) and Kemukus (Piper cubeba), 
and hair tonic from Javanese chili, Riza said. 

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