The IPKat has heard from his friend Kay Chapman, from the Central Advisory Service on Intellectual Property (home page here, blog here). This service assists the agricultural research centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) with their intellectual property management issues for development purposes and she writes:
"One of our projects is called the National Partners Initiative (NPI) which is a community of practice of IP practitioners from developing countries. It was launched in 2007 and now has around 45 members from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Members are from a wide range of backgrounds, including scientists, lawyers and academics. From 13 to 19 June we will be holding our annual meeting in Washington DC. The meeting will be a combination of roundtable discussions, case studies and 'open space' discussions. It's a fascinating group with a wide range of IP experiences (and of course challenges) of managing IP in the context of agricultural development. ... Many members have "found" themselves thrown into the field of IP management at their research institution and this community of practice has been a source of professional support".The Kat can't be at this meeting himself, though he'd very much have liked to do so, since it looks like the sort of positive contribution that the IP community can make to agricultural development where it is most needed. He hopes to get news of how the meeting goes, though, and looks forward to keeping his readers informed.
For your amusement. Graham Titley (Subject Librarian and Copyright Advisor to the Charles Seale Hayne Library, University of Plymouth) has drawn the IPKat's attention to an 8 April article in The Economist, "Copyright and wrong: why the rules on copyright need to return to their roots", which you can enjoy here together with the 62 comments added by some passionate readers. Thanks, Graham! By the way, the article concludes
"A return to the 28-year copyrights of the Statute of Anne would be in many ways arbitrary, but not unreasonable. If there is a case for longer terms, they should be on a renewal basis, so that content is not locked up automatically. The value society places on creativity means that fair use needs to be expanded and inadvertent infringement should be minimally penalised. None of this should get in the way of the enforcement of copyright, which remains a vital tool in the encouragement of learning. But tools are not ends in themselves".