By: Carolina Roa.

You may have asked this question yourself and have different conceptions of IP; for some of you “IP” might conjure mainly patents, for others, it could mean copyright or other forms of formal rights protecting creations of the mind. Yet IP is much more than that. As a teaser and overarching response – we need IP to make sure that the goods generated are used by the people and in the manner we’ve intended.

Here are some areas in which we’re working to improve the management of the assets we generate:

  • Developing and/or reviewing contractual terms and contracts for research, development, and deployment (R&D2)
    • Apart from specific queries/demands on this aspect, which include assistance in discussions of terms for possible collaborations/partnerships, and developing such terms, we are documenting lessons learned from some of the ongoing private sector partnerships. That will be used as a basis for developing baseline principles and strategies for future collaborations. You will hear more about that during the Annual Program Review.
  • Streamlining management of germplasm, particularly for breeding and improved materials
    • CIAT urgently needs to develop a common approach and strengthen processes and procedures for the provision and release of improved crop materials. In this line, we’re reviewing and developing additional terms to the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA), authorizations for the registration of CIAT-derived materials, licenses for evaluations/commercialization, and other forms and documents according to or taking into account CIAT’s commitments under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (“Plant Treaty”).
    • Developing written and oral materials to explain applicability of the SMTA and CIAT’s reporting commitments under the Plant Treaty.  Recently, we have sent consolidated information to the Treaty Secretariat on CIAT’s transfers since 2007, showing close to 247,000 samples sent including materials under development.
    • Working with Data & Info Management team on the automatization and the use of electronic form(s) to receive and handle germplasm requests (cutting down email traffic) and the generation of electronic SMTAs, helping us capturing key information for our reports according to international commitments.
  • Streamlining IP aspects in the management of information products
    • Developing practical guidelines on licenses applicable to copyrightable info products and those that are not copyrightable in line with CIAT’s Open Access policy – people tend to think that open access means an absence of copyright. Yet this is not the case. Copyright is an automatic right that applies to any work of authorship that is in a fixed form and is original. Thus, if you want open access for a copyrightable work (eg., photos, websites, online tools, papers) explicit terms stating what is allowed and what is not (that is, a license) should be included. Together with the Data and Info management group, we would like to provide you with across the board explanations/guidelines and tools to choose from suitable options what it is best for your particular info product.
    • Developing terms of use and privacy notices for online info resources – we ought to be careful with the management of private personal information, in case the tools we use may capture such information. There are privacy information laws in countries where we operate, that despite our international status and possible privileges and immunities, apply to us.
  • Building/enhancing capacities on IP management at institutional level
    • Develop written (website and short note) and oral materials (presentations, webinars) on tools, concepts and strategies on IP management (taking into account the former topics) to assist you with the use of IP as a tool for the work you do on R&D2.

There are other aspects such as policy updating and/or development in relation to IP aspects. Carolina Roa is the contact person for you all the above aspects. She is also the focal IP point for CIAT before the CGIAR System and the bridge/contact point for communications with the Secretariat of the Plant Treaty (for example for reporting to the Governing Body of this Treaty on the transfers of our crop materials).

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