Chávez wants to end medicine patents from Reuters 22 June 2009 CARACAS - President Hugo Chávez has vowed to shake up the rules governing intellectual property rights on medicines and other products in Venezuela, the socialist’s latest move against the private sector. “A song is intellectual property, but an invention or a scientific discovery should be knowledge for the world, especially medicine,’’ Chávez said late Saturday. “That a laboratory does not allow us to make a medicine because they have the patent, no, no, no,’’ Chávez said. Chávez, who has nationalized many Venezuela industries and is critical of the private sector, ordered his trade minister to analyze the patent rules in the OPEC nation. “Patents have become a barrier to production, and we cannot allow them to be barriers to medicine, to life, to agriculture,’’ said the minister, Eduardo Saman, who previously headed Venezuela’s patent agency. “We are revising all the doctrines and laws related to patents, which should be compatible with the international treaties that we have signed and respect and honor.’’ Chávez recently criticized Swedish packaging maker Tetra Pak, saying its patents on cartons were limiting production in Venezuela.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
by Grant Morgan 24 June 2009 Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is looking to move against corporate patent rights on medicines and other products essential to people's needs (see Reuters news report below). This is of the utmost importance for the world's anti-capitalists. Once patent rights are stripped from corporations, their state-mandated monopoly over cutting edge technology and production processes falls away. Monopoly is central to the maximisation of profits upon which late capitalism depends for its very survival. Almost nothing else this side of the complete socialisation of the economy would impact so heavily on the accumulation of capital by the monopolists as would the democratisation of patents on scientific and technological breakthroughs. And the anti-patent policies that Chavez is moving towards in order to safeguard people's health and well-being would be likely to garner massive popular support, further weakening corporate power on the political and ideological fronts. Go Hugo!