“Monsanto University” – Article on UC Berkeley

Monsanto University” – The University of California: a University, or a Biotech Company? by DARWIN BOND-GRAHAM – FEBRUARY 27, 2013 CounterPunch – Excepts: “US property laws have been molded for over two centuries by a profoundly anti-social doctrine emphasizing private control over technology and the financial gains to be made from invention. What’s relatively new is the extension of these propertarian doctrines into the essence of life itself, but thus far the courts and legal profession haven’t allowed the contradictions inherent in this obstruct their valorization of capital over life. The University of California’s intervention is a big deal, even if it was to be expected. UC’s amicus brief (which was actually spearheaded by a Wisconsin university research foundation) was co-signed by other schools that have close ties to big agribusiness such as the universities of Iowa, Illinois, Florida, and Nebraska. Joining them are the lobbying organizations of these schools which work to influence intellectual property laws, and to obtain research subsidies for their institutions. The entry of this academic coalition into the case creates the appearance of a broad public interest in upholding Monsanto’s legal position in part because these are mostly major public land grant universities. UC and its co-signatories argue in their brief that Bowman’s seed saving stands to undermine scientific and technological “progress,” and could even harm the public welfare.” … “The University of California is a behemoth in the biotech industry, and behaves more like a for-profit corporation such as Monsanto, than a public college with a broadly social mission when it comes to research and technology. UC owns more patents than any other university in the world. In fact UC owns so many patents, and files for so many new applications each year, that only a few major corporations rank above it in the yearly quest to monopolize new ideas and creations in biotech and agribusiness. In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, UC ranked just below Exxon Mobil and Proctor and Gamble, and just above Raytheon and Merck in the global tally of U.S. patents granted.” … “ Tech transfer is a full-time task run out of the UC president’s office, and through offices on each UC campus where staff and lawyers are busy finding ways to monetize the university’s knowledge production, and to penalize anyone who attempts to use UC inventions without a fee.” See the full article here at CounterPunch: 



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