As part of the International Potato Center’s (CIP) efforts to improve food and nutrition security, it applied for a patent in Peru to protect the intellectual property for the preparation of a nutritious flour made from two crops: orange-fleshed sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) and yam bean (Pachyruizus spp.). CIP has successfully completed the formal examination stage of the registration process for the patent application “Nutritional composition from Pachyrhizus spp and Ipomoea Batatas with high concentration of micronutrients” with the Peruvian National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Intellectual Property Protection (INDECOPI). This stage included an analysis by INDECOPI of whether the patent application complied with formal requirements and the opening of a period in which third parties could oppose the patent application, following its publication in INDECOPI’s Electronic Gazette.
With no opposition filed against the patent application, this formal stage concluded. CIP has thus requested the start of the substantial review of the patent, which formally starts with the patentability exam initiation. Under this stage, INDECOPI will evaluate fulfillment of the patentability requirements: novelty, inventive step and industrial application, which will enable the granting of patent registration.
With this patent application, CIP aims to attract third parties to invest and/or adopt the technology and market a competitive, low-cost and highly nutritious alternative to products such as bread, rice and tamale that have lower nutritional value but are widely purchased and consumed in Peru.
This nutritious food product is a very attractive technology because of its ability to combat one of the prevalent nutritional problems: anemia. According to figures from the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI) of Peru, anemia affected 43.6% of girls and boys under 6 years of age in 2016 – 681,000 girls and boys – most of who (479,000) live in rural areas. Worse yet, according to figures from the Asháninka Central Ene River (CARE) organization, 80% of the indigenous children under five in that rainforest area of eastern Peru suffer from malnutrition.
By investing in this technology, third parties can contribute significantly to health improvements for children in Peru and, potentially, in other parts of the world.
Because these populations consume low-cost products for breakfast, the nutritional composition developed by CIP should be incorporated into comparably low cost products that families at risk of malnutrition can afford, but will provide a better nutritional value. However, the costs of making such products ready for the market at a profit could result in expensive products. An intellectual property rights approach to enhance the scale or scope of impact on target beneficiaries has thus been adopted to facilitate the ability of public and private partners to produce and take a low-cost product to market with a price that low income families can afford, in order to reduce anemia in children under 5.