Many cite improved seed technologies as vital to addressing the challenge of food insecurity, especially when faced with combined stresses of global climate change, population growth, and natural resource depletion (Anthony and Ferroni 2012; Lipton 2007). As improved seeds find their way into the developing world, policymakers are struggling to find the appropriate institutional mechanisms to regulate their creation and use. Arguments over intellectual property rights (IPR) are central to this debate. Some activists in the Global South are distrustful of any IPR regime that creates private ownership over seeds, whereas international financial institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) encourage stronger IPR protections for commercial seed breeders creating new plant varieties. Policymakers face two conflicting imperatives in making these policies: (1) promote improved seed development and distribution in ways that will encourage new seed innovations and protect the interests of commercial breeders and (2) protect the interests of farmers who serve as both a source of vital germplasm and as the potential users of these improved seeds. In this policy brief, we consider the sources of these conflicting imperatives for developing nations to protect the rights of commercial plant breeders and small farmers, as well as some examples of national policies trying to balance those demands.
Krishnan, Preethi; Raridon, Andrew; Raymond, Leigh; and Subramaniam, Mangala
"Intellectual Property Rights for New Seed Technologies: Balancing Farmers’ and Breeders’ Rights,"
Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI) Policy Briefs: Vol. 3
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/gpripb/vol3/iss1/2