Will the TRIPS Agreement Foster Appropriate Biotechnologies for Developing Countries?
The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Journal of Agricultural Economics
(Impact Factor: 1.28).
02/2007; 58(2):199-217. DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-9552.2007.00110.x
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.
Available from: ag-innovation.usask.ca
Available from: May T. Yeung
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ABSTRACT: Currently there are proposals and negotiations regarding the strengthening of protection for geographic indicators (GIs) in the WTO. A major proponent of stronger protection for GIs has been the European Union. One of the arguments it has put forward for stronger protection has been that it will provide an avenue for economic development for agricultural producers in developing countries – a way to capture rents in the markets of developed countries. This paper first outlines the proposed changes to the international protection of geographic indicators. Second, the potential for groups of producers to generate and capture rents in foreign markets is assessed under differing assumptions pertaining to industry structure, product differentiation in the short and long run, barriers to entry reputation and the form of legal protection in importing countries. A discussion of the resource requirements to establish and maintain a GI is also provided.
Available from: Michel Trommetter
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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.
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