1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide and describe in a single document the policy and strategic intentions for the management of intellectual property and aquatic genetic resources, for the benefit of the WorldFish stakeholders and staff.

2. Scope of this Policy

The scope of this policy is confined to the definition and management of intellectual property generated, used or transferred by WorldFish, and to the specification of the principles for the collection, research, associated use and transfer of aquatic genetic resources by the Center and its partners.

3. Definitions

Intellectual property (IP) means information, ideas, inventions, new fish varieties, innovations, art work, designs, literary text and any other matter or thing whatsoever that as a creation of human intervention, that may be capable of legal protection or the subject of legal rights, as granted by national laws and which may include the following items: patents; information which is of a kind and which has been communicated in such a way as to give rise to a duty of confidentiality (a trade secret or “know-how” are examples of this type of IP); copyright vesting in literary works (including computer programs), dramatic works, musical works, artistic works, films, sound recordings, multi media works, broadcast, published editions and certain types of performance; registered trademarks; unregistered trademarks used or intended for use in business, plant breeders rights or equivalent;registered designs and designs capable of being registered; layout designs of integrated circuits; databases; and other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, commercial, scientific, literary and artistic fields.   

• “Intellectual property right” (IPR) means the right or rights conferred by the law, which protect innovations or creativity from being appropriated by others.

4. Principles in relation to Intellectual Property and Management of Genetic Resources

Now therefore:

(i) Whereas WorldFish recognizes its responsibility to manage its research and other materials and products so as to maintain accessibility to its products, to produce international public goods and thereby best serve its clients, the poor, who usually are not served well by commercial markets.

(ii) Whereas in its collaborative activities, WorldFish will abide by all relevant national and international laws and treaties concerning intellectual property rights, the CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets as adopted by the Consortium, by rights of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and as well, will respect the intellectual property rights of third parties.

(iii) Whereas WorldFish recognizes the role of its stewardship, and in some cases the Center's responsibility to ensure that the adoption pathways and monitoring of developed technologies are adequate to ensure delivery and maintain the quality of the original product for its beneficiaries, and in some cases this will involve partnership with the private sector.  

(iv) Whereas ownership of the technology may be necessary in order to develop a partnership with the private sector.

(v) Whereas WorldFish does not see the protection of intellectual property as a mechanism for securing financial returns from its research activities, and will not seek such returns as a source of operating funds, other than to cover the costs of protective IPR and of maintenance services.

(vi) Whereas WorldFish recognizes the indispensable role of fish farmers and scientists in evaluating aquatic species for use in aquaculture and enhanced fisheries, and in conserving valuable aquatic genetic resources for the present and future generations of humans;

(vii) Whereas WorldFish will manage its intellectual property in accordance with the CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets as adopted by the Consortium.

WorldFish now adopts these principles:

  1. The Center will usually seek to place its intellectual property in the public domain. However the Center will seek, when appropriate, such intellectual property rights that are fully consistent with its mission when deemed in the best interests of its clients. The Center will also comply with the CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets.
  2. The Center will make its IP available on a non exclusive royalty free basis for research purposes to all of its clients and on a non exclusive royalty free basis for use by its clients in non – commercial markets, and on a non exclusive reasonable royalty basis for use by clients in a commercial market.
  3. WorldFish staff will not derive any direct financial benefit from IP generated by them, for the Center. In those cases where IPR prevents publication of the staff’s findings, the contribution of the IP will be acknowledged in staff appraisals.
  4. The Center will not usually seek intellectual property rights in relation to the biological resources or traditional knowledge of indigenous or local communities. Where such biological resources or traditional knowledge is provided to third parties, that provision shall be subject to the undertaking of the third party not to seek patents or other intellectual property rights in relation to these resources or traditional knowledge.  The Center may seek limited IP protection in exceptional circumstances as set out in the CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets to protect the rights of local communities and to ensure that knowledge remains in the public domain
  5. The Center will not normally seek IPR as a means to fund its public goods research; rather it will seek IPR to:
    • facilitate the transfer of technology for greater impact;
    • maintain and sustain its  knowledge banks  and networks;
    • use its IP as a “bargaining chip” to access otherwise costly technology required to serve its mission.
  6. The center will provide biological resources, their progeny or derivatives, to third parties for conservation, research, education and other purposes. At the time of providing biological resources, their progeny or derivatives, WorldFish will clarify with the recipient whether the supply is for commercial or for non-commercial purposes
  7. WorldFish will maintain, for public scrutiny, complete and up-to-date records of its aquatic genetic resources collections and of all introductions, transfers and disposal of aquatic genetic resources from these sources.
  8. The center will honor all terms and conditions to which it committed when acquiring the component resources and content for developing its technologies with respect to prior intellectual property.  WorldFish will make reasonable and sincere efforts to share any benefits arising from the use of its IP fairly and equitably with the resource providers.
  9. To ensure that the Center can exercise authority over the IP which is developed through its activities, WorldFish will seek to exert appropriate rights over this intellectual property with a view to a) recognizing the contributions of others, b) maintaining the availability of the IP for continued research and its dissemination to clients through appropriate contractual licensing or other arrangements on a case by case basis.
  10. All intellectual property rights accruing from work of a staff member at WorldFish or from the work of a Visiting scientist or student using WorldFish facilities, will be vested in the Center under the Agreement that WorldFish enters into with the external entity to which the visiting scientists or student belongs, unless otherwise stipulated.
  11. The ownership and retention of research data and information generated during employment by WorldFish are fully vested in the WorldFish Center, as reflected in each employment contract.
  12. WorldFish will uniformly describe in staff employment contracts and the personnel policies of all categories of staff, the rights of the center and the staff member in relation to IP generated at WorldFish and to the observance of other Center practices in relation to aquatic genetic resources.

4. Management of Intellectual Property

 In accordance with these principles and the responsibilities of WorldFish, The Center will undertake the following with respect to IPR.

  1. World Fish promotes the use of its products.  This will often be accomplished by a form of technology transfer arrangement in which the rights to IP assets are distributed by Center or its agents.  The mode of transfer of such rights will be determined on a case-by-case basis, based on the specifics of an individual situation, with the intent of distribution to resource poor farmers. In the case of patents, plant breeders rights and trademarks, ownership arises through registration; in the case of IP embodied in know-how, data and training methods, ownership arises through the assembly or creation of that IP
  2. All intellectual property will be managed in accordance with the CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets.
  3. All WorldFish staff will enter into a uniform employment contract (and research contracts where WorldFish is the contracting organization) with respect to IP.  The employment contract (and the Personnel Policy Manual) will include the following statements ---

    “Intellectual property created in the course of your work at WorldFish is governed by the WorldFish Policy for Intellectual Property Rights (which includes principles and rules on Aquatic Genetic Resources) and by the principles contained in paragraph 3.6 of the Internationally Recruited Staff Personnel Policy Manual and the WorldFish Code of Conduct for Researchers.”

    “Intellectual property (IP) means information, ideas, inventions, innovations, art work, designs, literary text and any other matter or thing whatsoever as may be capable of legal protection or the subject of legal rights (for more details consult the Policy)”

    “Staff members should report the creation of IP or intellectual assets that may be protected by intellectual property. Those who believe that intellectual property protection should be sought by WorldFish in relation to aspects of their work, should discuss this with the Director General”

  4. All visiting scientists will be required to observe the Center’s undertakings. In circumstances where visitors and students are not obliged to enter into contracts with WorldFish, they will be obliged to sign a form admitting them to the WorldFish premises, subject to their respecting the WorldFish IPR Policy and in some cases may be required to sign confidentiality agreements before working with scientists.
  5. The awareness of WorldFish policies will be built through: (a) contract and performance discussions, (b) inclusion in the Personnel Policy Manuals for all categories of staff, (c) IP policies will be placed on the WorldFish website (d) seminars will be held from time to time to bring staff up to date with recent developments in IP, and (e) provision of training materials from time to time.
  6. When acquiring and transferring biological resources WorldFish will use a material transfer agreement consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2293the FAO undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources and the CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets.