A trainee examining a chickpea plant Photo: ICRISAT

IP at ICRISAT: In tune with an evolving innovation landscape

How is ICRISAT adapting to the IP legal framework given present day realities and innovations in agriculture. Find out on the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day today.

ICRISAT works towards reducing poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation in the dryland tropics and s bound by the CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets (for details go to  https://icrisat.org/ipr_old/) and complies with all national and international laws, including those on the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD).

ICRISAT regards the results of its research and development activities as international public goods (IPGs) and is committed to their widespread diffusion and use to achieve the maximum possible access, scale, scope of impact on sharing of benefits to benefit the poor, especially farmers in developing countries.  Towards this objective, it publishes the results of its R&D activities as broadly and freely as possible, including disseminating them on its online Open Access Repository (http://oar.icrisat.org/). The organization manages its Intellectual Assets and IP Rights with integrity, fairness, equity, responsibility, and accountability.

Partnerships are at the crux of our research initiatives. We believe they are critical to ensuring access to the best knowledge and innovation, harnessing efficiencies in product development, and achieving maximum impact through effective delivery and deployment. Accessing and using third party Intellectual Assets is essential to conduct the best research in furtherance of the CGIAR vision. ICRISAT is also involved in IP Rights due diligence for the activities that they carry out and, in particular, to secure where appropriate, the IP Rights that are necessary for the development and delivery of products or services without infringing the IP rights of third parties.

The CGIAR IA Principles allow ICRISAT to grant limited exclusivity for commercialization of its Intellectual Assets wherever it is necessary for the further improvement of such Intellectual Assets or to enhance the scale or scope of impact on target beneficiaries, subject to the availability of those Intellectual Assets for research and emergency exemptions.  The application of these concessions is subject to rigorous reporting and accounting geared towards transparency and scrutiny to determine whether such concessions are justified or necessary to enhance ICRISAT’s intellectual assets, advance the scope of their impact on beneficiaries, and further the overall CGIAR vision.

ICRISAT subscribes to the judicious and strategic use of IP protection systems to further its capacity to serve the global poor. If there are likely to be any protectable results arising out of ICRISAT’s research and with its partners, the CGIAR IA Principles allow for IP protection such as Patents, Plant Variety Protection (PVP), etc., as long as the main reason for such protection is to ensure global availability of the products.

ICRISAT supports the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Treaty) and the Multilateral System set up by the Treaty to ensure the continued flow of plant genetic resources that are most important for food security. In accordance with the Agreement signed with the Governing Body of the Treaty (FAO) in 2006, ICRISAT provides facilitated access to both germplasm and breeding material for the purposes of research, breeding and training for food and agriculture, by applying the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA).  In addition, ICRISAT reports all such transfers to the Governing Body of the Treaty on an annual basis.

About the author:

B Hanumanth Rao, Senior Manager – Intellectual Property Office, ICRISAT.

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