Now, it seems, a few Andean countries have turned the tables. Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru are demanding similar "protections for their native plants and the ways they are used, such as a rule requiring companies to inform indigenous tribes of any patent applications based on traditional knowledge and negotiate payment, according to Carlos Correa, a Buenos Aires-based consultant to those nations."
Renee Marlin-Bennett, chairwoman of the Global Intellectual Property Project at American University in Washington, says that such a fundamental change to the patent system would "redirect the rules to rectify some of the embedded imbalance" between rich and poor.
On the one hand, hoorah for these countries that are standing up to a system that puts them at a square disadvantage. On the other hand, yikes -- we're talking about broadening the definition of patentable ideas to those "taken from the wild or cultivated over generations," a development that would certainly further constrict innovation not only domestically in the U.S., but worldwide.
Let us hope that those involved in these negotiations, particularly those representing us in the U.S., see this for what it is: a de facto demonstration of how ridiculous our intellectual monopoly regime has become, and how insane our demands on the rest of the world's citizens are.