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In this introduction to an issue that lies at the heart of the knowledge economy, Shiva argues that Western-inspired and unprecedented widening of this concept does not in fact stimulate human creativity and the generation of knowledge. Instead, it is being exploited by transnational corporations in order to increase their profits at the expense of the health of ordinary people, and the poor in particular, and the age-old knowledge and independence of the world's farmers. Intellectual protection is being transformed into corporate plunder.
- Introduction - patents - an ethical crisis
Part 1 The role of patents in history
- patents as instruments of conquest
- patents as rewards for inventiveness
- patents as instruments for technology transfer, catching up and import monopolies
- patents and control over the global economy
Part 2 The myth of patents
- the myth of stimulating creativity
- the myth of technology transfer, innovation and R&D
- the myth of knowledge generation
- of spies, crime and IPRs
Part 3 Threats to biodiversity
- the enclosure of the commons
Part 4 Biopiracy
- what is biopiracy
- stealing from the pharmacy of the poor
- stealing from the farms of our farmers
- stealing nature's pesticide
- resolving biopiracy
Part 5 Can seed be owned?
- seeds - the ultimate gift
- seed legislation
- patents on plants
- patents on seed - terminating germination
Part 6 Profiteering from disease
Part 7 Democracy or dictatorship?
- trade related intellectual property rights (TRIPS)
- TRIPS and patents on plants
- TRIPS and biodiversity
- TRIPS and patent laws in India
Part 8 The way forward
- TRIPS reform and review
- farmers' rights as community rights - the sui generis system
- intellectual property rights reform
Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental thinker and campaigner. A leader in the International Forum on Globalization, recipient of the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award) and of the Earth Day Award, she is the author of several influential books, including: Staying Alive, The Violence of the Green Revolution, Monocultures of the Mind, Biopiracy, and Stolen Harvest, all published by Zed.
"One of the world's most prominent radical scientists."
– The Guardian (UK)
"Shiva has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of ordinary people in India. Her fierce intellect and her disarmingly friendly, accessible manner have made her a valuable advocate for people all over the developing world."
– Ms. Magazine