Will the TRIPS Agreement Foster Appropriate Biotechnologies for Developing Countries?

Journal of Agricultural Economics (Impact Factor: 1.5). 02/2007; 58(2):199-217. DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-9552.2007.00110.x
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT While almost all of the investment in agricultural biotechnology to date has been in temperate crops suitable for developed countries, developing countries are the greatest potential beneficiaries of this major technological advance. To realise this potential requires investment in crops appropriate to climatic and agronomic conditions in developing countries. Protection of intellectual property rights is a necessary condition for the private sector to invest in appropriate biotechnologies. This paper develops a game theoretic model of a bioscience firm that adapts a new technology to a range of agronomic conditions in response to the enforcement of intellectual property rights in a developed and a developing country. Over a range of potential penalties, low levels of enforcement by the developing country remain endemic despite the desire to have the bioscience firm adapt the biotechnology to its local conditions. In particular, the trade penalties contained in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights are likely to be ineffective. The developing country might increase enforcement if the developed country was more aggressive in liberalising agriculture trade because there would be greater symmetry in the benefits of the technology. Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract One of the important themes in any discussion concerning the application of haploids in agricultural biotechnology or elsewhere is the role of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). This term covers both the content of patents and the confidential expertise, usually related to methodology and referred to as “Trade Secrets”. This review will explain the concepts behind patent protection, and will use the international patent databases to analyse the content of these patents and trends over the last 20 years. This analysis from regions including North America, Europe, and Asia reveals a total of more than 30 granted patents and a larger number of applications. The first of these patents dates from 1986, and although the peak of activity was in the late 1990s, there has been continuous interest to the present day. The subject matter of these patents and applications covers methods for anther and pollen culture, ovule culture, the use of specific haploid-inducing genes, the use of haploids as transformation targets, and the exploitation of genes that regulate embryo development. The species mentioned include cereals, vegetables, flowers, spices and trees.
    12/2008: pages 97-113;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The report contains two sections. The first analyses the incentive mechanisms in agricultural biotechnologies; it begins with a theoretical and historical analysis. The co-evolution of scientific paradigms and IPR in agricultural biotechnologies is then studied – in particular, the coexistence of various rights to protect the same innovation: a plant variety. The scientific paradigm presented – that of a gene intervening in several functions and a function depending on the interaction of several genes – is shown to modify considerably its link with IPR, so that patent thickets emerge. What is required is to implement at the same time a collective management of IPR and a collective management of research. The section looks at the stakes for farmers, who are the consumers of these innovations. Lastly, it addresses the stakes for the developing countries: the implementation of credible intellectual property rights must be accompanied by the implementation of a credible competition law to avoid situations of abuse of dominant position. These various effects show that research incentives in agricultural biotechnology are increasingly a question of co-ordination of research actors rather than a question of individual incentives. The second section looks at the future, from the science perspective (what demand will there be for what research tomorrow?) and an IPR perspective under the constraint of environmental change, like climate change. If intellectual property rights in agricultural biotechnologies, as well as the size of the expected market, are necessary conditions to develop innovations, what are the sufficient conditions? Various technologies are presented that could be mobilised in agricultural biotechnologies by 2030, including nanotechnologies. The report looks at the stakes in terms of intellectual property rights in the case, for example, of a plant allowed to perform multiple functions (food and industrial). It analyses the stakes for the developing countries. Finally, it makes proposals regarded as essential so that intellectual property rights keep up with the evolution of research and demand.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The application of intellectual property rights (IP) in developing countries is and remains highly controversial, particularly as regards applications to food/agriculture, and pharmaceuticals, which have direct ramifications for large numbers of peoples. One dimension complicating a reasoned dialogue on the public benefits of IP, particularly when many developing countries are implementing the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as mandated by membership in the World Trade Organization, is a dearth of information on their actual operation and effects. In this study, we address one particular aspect of the limited documentation on the effects of IP systems, the effect of plant variety protection (PVP) on the genetic productivity potential of varieties. Specifically, we examine wheat varieties in Washington State, United States, which are produced by both public and private sector breeders. Results from the study show that implementation of PVP attracted private investment in open pollinated crops such as wheat in the United States and provided greater numbers of varieties of these crops, which are high yielding from both the public and private sectors. These results may provide some insights for policy makers from developing countries on the effects of IP for plants as their TRIPS commitments are being implemented.
    The Journal of World Intellectual Property 03/2009; 12(2):137 - 152.