Cheap plant variety copyright discourages scientists

Published: 12/06/2011 05:00



VietNamNet Bridge – The energy spent by scientists to create new varieties cannot be compensated well: they can sell the discovered varieties at just hundreds of millions of dong. Meanwhile, enterprises do not want to spend money to buy plant variety copyrights because they are not protected by the laws.

Laws cannot help

Though having signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on buying the copyright for two pure-bred rice varieties (OM6600 and OM4488) of the Mekong Delta Rice Institute, Nguyen Van Thanh, Chair of the Southern Company, said that he is considering canceling the deal, because the copyright law cannot protect the benefits of enterprises at this moment.

Thanh said that according to the Intellectual Property and the Copyright Laws, if his company buys the copyrights for the two rice varieties, the company will have the right to exclusively produce and distribute the two varieties. However, in fact, a lot of variety production companies also sell the two varieties on the market.

“We have to spend a big sum of money to buy the copyrights for rice varieties, but we do not have the exclusive rights for the varieties,” he said. “We have the evidences that show that other companies, which also sell the rice varieties, violate the laws, but we cannot protect ourselves”.

“Therefore, we will not be foolish enough to spend billions dong to purchase the things which are not exclusively ours,” he concluded.

Agreeing with Thanh, Bui Ngoc Tuyen, Deputy Director of the Southern Plant Varieties Experimenting Center, said that the copyright infringement has become popular, and that in many cases, government agencies cannot impose fines on violators even though there are clear evidences.

Thanh said that the Nang Hoa 9 rice variety has been created by Le Hong An, Director of Hoa Tien Company in HCM City, who has also registered for copyright protection. This means that the Hoa Tien Company has the full right to produce and distribute varieties on the market. However, in fact, many other companies are also selling the varieties which they call NH9.

“The rice variety has been selling in large scale in Long An, Tien Giang provinces. Hoa Tien knows this, but it does not know what to do,” Tuyen said.

Variety copyright too cheap

Bui Chi Buu, Head of the Southern Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology, said that the institute has successfully created a drought- and salt-resistant variety, and sold the copyright to a company at 3 billion dong.

This is a new rice variety, which can get adapted to the climate change. Therefore, we decided to sell the copyright to farmers at a low price, with which, they can take back capital just within one year.

Mai Xuan Trieu, Head of the Maize Research Institute, said, in 2011, the institute sold three cross-bred corn varieties to three companies at 3 billion dong for each, with which, it would take the companies two years only to take back capital.

“The plant varieties’ copyrights are very cheap. However, even with the low prices, it is not easy for scientists to sell varieties because of the complicated procedures,” Trieu said

At a workshop introducing and transferring plant variety copyrights held in HCM City in late May, five enterprises agreed to purchase the variety copyrights from the members of the Vietnam Science and Technique Institute at the prices  between hundreds of millions dong to less than 2 billion dong. Buu commented that the prices were too cheap if compared with the average prices in the world.

According to Nguyen Van Hoa, a senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in order to sell the copyright of a variety, the variety must be registered for protection at the Cultivation Department of the ministry. Meanwhile, scientists tend not to register for protection because they make research by the state budget.

Source: TBKTSG

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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