National Workshop on Bioinformatics

To create awareness among researchers about the rapid change in information technology, Bioinformatics Center of Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA) organized a four-day National Workshop-cum-Training Programme on Bioinformatics & Statistics in Aquaculture Research during 16-19 January, 2001 at Bhubaneswar, Orissa. The workshop was sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India and Coordinated by Shri A K Roy, Coordinator of the Biotechnology Information System on Aquaculture, CIFA. Forty-three participants from different universities and ICAR institutes, representing states like Andhra Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal participated in the programme.

Dr A K Bhattacharya, Vice-Chancellor of West Bengal University of Animal and Fisheries Sciences inaugurated the Workshop. In his welcome address, Dr C Saha, Director, CIFA apprised the audience about the importance of Bioinformatics and Statistics in Aquaculture Research. The resource personnel from different institutes of national repute like IIT, Kharagpur; Utkal University, Bhubaneswar; NABARD, Bhubaneswar; MANAGE, Hyderabad; Loyola Academy, Hyderabad; IGAU, Raipur; BCKB, Mohanpur delivered lectures on the occasion.

The publications Proceedings of the National Workshop-cum- Training on Bioinformatics and Statistics in Aquaculture Research and Fish Disease Database Information System in printed as well as in electronic form i.e. CD-ROM were released by the Chief Guest, Shri M Rout, Ex-Coordinator, BTIS, CIFA [Details of the publications are given on p. 27]

Reported by Mr A K Roy, Senior Scientist and Coordinator, BTIS, CIFA,
PO-Kausalyaganga, Bhubaneswar-751002.

Seminar on Bioinformatics in the New Millennium

The National Seminar on Bioinformatics in the New Millennium sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt of India was organised by the Bioinformatics Centre of Pondicherry University during 27 February _1 March 2001at Pondicherry. Around sixty participants attended the Seminar.

In his inaugural address Prof V T Patil, Vice-Chancellor of the University appreciated the activities of the Centre and elaborated the significance of bioinformatics in the new millennium. He stressed the need of percolating the benefits to the common man.

Prof P P Mathur, Officer-in- charge of the Centre welcomed the participants and the resource persons. He elaborated the activities of the Centre and presented the scope of the Seminar in the post-genomic era. Dr A Ramachandra Reddy proposed the vote of thanks. Among the many reputed bioinformatics scientists who addressed the participants were Dr J R Arora of DBT; Prof S Ramakumar and Dr K Sekar of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Dr N Gautham of the University of Madras; Dr P Gautham of the Anna University, Mrs. Urmila Kulkarni-Kale of the University of Poona and Dr S N Das of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

The various topics covered during the Seminar included current developments on BTIS net, rational drug design, knowledge-based homology modeling for structural genomics, human genome project and its implications, phylogenetic trees, application software in bioinformatics, DNA computing, free software in bioinformatics, practical aspects of sequence analysis, databanks and associated tools, and recent developments in structural genomics. The participants got hands-on experience of various techniques.

Reported by Prof P P Mathur, Officer-in-charge, Bioinformatics Centre,
Pondicherry University, Pondicherry-605014.

Seminar on Patent Information

The Seminar, jointly organized by the Central Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI), Bangalore and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mysore Zone, was held at the Hotel Quality Inn Southern Star, Mysore and attended by about 25 delegates. The Seminar was inaugurated by Mr D Sudhanva, Chairman, CII Mysore Zone and CEO, Nishlaj Consultants, Mysore. In his inaugural address, Mr. Sudhanva emphasized on the importance of patents and copyright with specific reference made to the software industry. He focused on the importance of being a part of the technological boom by building our own products and protecting the intellectual properties. He elaborated on the compulsion the manufacturing sector has to face in the world market and the need to protect the products and processes. Finally, Mr Sudhanva stressed on the importance of the awareness program on patents and wished that everyone participating in the Seminar should make use of the opportunity.

The inaugural session was followed by two technical sessions. The first session dealt with basic concepts about patents and patent information sources. The session consisted of four papers.

The first paper entitled `Patent systems in India with background of TRIPS' was presented by Dr Sushil Kumar Mitra, Examiner of Patents & Designs, Patent Office, Kolkata. Dr Mitra explained the basic aspects of patents, design, trademarks and copyright. He dealt with the issues of intellectual property rights, briefed about the TRIPS and legislation regarding patent systems in India. He discussed patentability of products and processes and their usefulness.

`Sources and benefits of patent information' was the second paper contributed by Mr B Sudarshan, Scientist-E, CMTI, Bangalore. The paper dealt with the benefits obtained from patenting formats of patent information, details of the organizations that provide patent information and the types of services provided by these organizations including the information resources in these organizations. The paper also provided the addresses of (i) publishers of patent databases on CD-ROM, (ii) selected database producers and online service providers, (iii) Indian organizations providing patent information; and a list of patent offices in the world and in India.

The third presentation was in fact a demonstration of `Patent databases on Internet/CD-ROM' by Mrs. Saraswathi Subramaniam, Documentation Officer, CMTI, Bangalore. In her demonstration figured some of the databases on CD-ROM subscribed by VAPIS, CMTI; the accessibility of patent data of the USPTO, PCT, EPO, INPADIC, PATOLIS and the database vendors like Micropatent and Derwent through their Web sites.

The last paper of the session entitled `Activities of WIPO, INPADOC & EPIDOS- An Introduction' was presented by Mrs. K S Geethamani, Senior Documentation Officer, CMTI, Bangalore. Mrs. Geethamani highlighted some of the basic facts and activities of WIPO, traced the development of the intellectual property law and the related industrial property treaties, touched upon the availability of information in the Internet regarding WIPO and the links to the various www sites, and finally dwelt on the databases of INPADOC and its coverage, the activities of EPICOS and its patent information products including CD-ROMs and online databases.

The second session witnessed two presentations. The first one was a paper entitled `Filing of the international patent application through PCT route and entry into national phase' by Dr Sushil Kumar Mitra of Patent Office, Kolkata; and the second one was a case study by Mr Aroon Raman, Ex- Chairman, CII Mysore Zone and Managing Director, Raman Boards Limited.

In his presentation Dr. Mitra explained the actual procedures of filling the patents at the national and international levels, the concept of Patent Cooperation Treaty, the procedures for filing through PCT and the effectiveness of the same. In the other case Mr. Raman described the activities of M/s Raman Boards Limited, focusing on the diversification of the business and the patenting activities of the company.

Both the sessions invoked a lot of interest among the participants, which was obvious in the interactions and discussions that followed each paper. The differences between the product and process patents, patenting at different countries, re-patenting of an expired patent, information about patent applications laws, copyright procedures and the patentability of chemical formulations were the topics where clarifications were sought by the participants.

In the concluding session, Mr Aroon Raman thanked all the delegates, faculty, NISSAT, CMTI and the organizing team of CII, Mysore Zone for making the seminar a success.

Information Today & Tomorrow, Vol. 20, No. 2, June 2001, p.31-p.32