Production of RUTF.
Nutriset's industrial property strategy has always been oriented toward increasing the availability of high-quality products through production systems that have a positive impact on developing countries. To do this, Nutriset uses its industrial property rights to support the implementation of local production systems that are near populations suffering from malnutrition and to facilitate the access of local partners to innovative technologies. In addition, Nutriset uses its industrial property rights as a tool to protect its local partners from "unequal" competition from industries based in developed countries. The reasons are pragmatic: developing countries, which are the most greatly affected by the scourge of malnutrition, rarely have the possibility to carry out nutritional research and have difficulty accessing innovation, in contrast with developed countries that have the resources to do this type of research and carry out studies.
This strategy is materialized through two different mechanisms.
The PlumpyField® network
This network comprising private companies and NGOs in Africa, America and Asia produces and distributes Nutriset products. Tied to Nutriset by a franchise contract, franchisees have the right to use Nutriset brands and have access to the transfer of technical and commercial know-how (manufacturing processes and methods, installation of industrial tools, implementation and tracking of quality, logistics systems, etc.), as well as continuous assistance.
Production capacity is rapidly enlarging thanks to the growth of current network members. From 7,500 metric tons in 2009, network production capacity increased significantly to 28,000 metric tons in 2011 and reached 52,600 metric tons in 2017. This technology transfer strategy has resulted in the creation of over 500 jobs within the network and the development of national or regional agricultural sectors through the purchase of locally available raw materials and the development of skills and knowledge (agro-industry and analysis laboratories).
This simplified license agreement is part of the policy established by Nutriset from the beginning. It aims to use patents as a tool to serve local development purposes. Since 2007 (and by electronic means since 2010), Nutriset has proposed an agreement that allows a company or organization established in a developing country where Nutriset holds a patent to manufacture, market and distribute its own patented products (beneficiaries commit to developing their own product under their own brand, without assistance from Nutriset).
Eligible entities can subscribe to a usage agreement quickly and easily online, with just a few clicks. The only cost for these organizations is a 1% contribution on sales of their products to be donated to the French Research Institute for Development (IRD), which co-owns the patents. Nutriset has chosen not to request any type of remuneration, ensuring only that contractual commitments are met. Today, beneficiaries of this simplified license agreement are found in Mali, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Chad and Malawi.