Agricultural Biotechnology and the Privatization of Genetic Information: Implications for Innovation and Equity

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"Changes in intellectual property rights systems have led to the privatization of the genetic resources and subsequently to the proliferation of new agricultural biotechnology products. Since these new products have the potential to increase agricultural production while limiting environmental degradation, the benefits from these technologies could be far- reaching. However, while intellectual property rights have successfully encouraged innovation in the private sector, private sector domination of the development of new products may skew the distribution of benefits away from marginally productive agricultural areas where poorer communities live. "The primary purpose of this paper is to examine overlapping systems of intellectual property rights on genetic resources, including traditional plant breeders rights, the UPOV plant variety agreement, and national systems of property rights. The paper will include a discussion of private, public, and common property aspects of genetic resources and how various intellectual property systems effect genetic resource use. The paper will also examine the challenge of creating public policies and legal systems that encourage innovation and ensure the equitable distribution of benefits from genetic resources."



IASC, common pool resources, genetic resources, intellectual property rights, innovation, plants