Published 1995 by NABC.

Agricultural biotechnology is advancing at a rapid rate that obtaining answers to questions about gene ownership and access have become critically important. Intellectual property rights control the transfer of knowledge in the molecular biology of agricultural commodities to new technology for users and establish ownership rights to intellectual property. The views of different stakeholders were represented at the conference: consumer groups, farmers, industry, government and academia. They voiced concerns about the effects IPRs on public and private research efforts and the production and delivery of products which are essential if society is to benefit from the public and private investment. IPRs need to be examined in relation to the public good, and policies may need to be established regarding access to proprietary information in agricultural technology and public access is needed to provide researchers with genes and tools to facilitate their use.

New combinations of genes in plants are a valuable resources for future civilizations because they are sources of better food, feed and fiber. However, valuation is an important consideration to sort out the proportion of value added by an inserted gene from a plant found in a developing country.

While the public is not engaged with the issues of agricultural biotechnology their buy-in is critical. Current IPR policies have a negative impact on research in agricultural biotechnology, including conflict of interest issues and increased transactional costs and there are regulatory gaps.

There is increased pressure on university scientists to work on short-term projects at the sacrifice of longer term fundamental research, thereby eroding our intellectual capital. Research being done at public institutions is affected by the patent process and the funding by private companies. On the other hand, patents provide an important industrial research incentives.

Recent Submissions

  • Intellectual property rights: Key to access or entry barrier for developing countries 

    Solleiro, Jose Luis (NABC, 1994)
    Implementation of an innovation-system approach is critical to facilitate the adaptation and assimilation of biotechnology developed in other countries. Protection of IPR will play an important role creating a safe climate ...
  • Access: Bartering and brokering genetic resources 

    Shands, Henry L. (NABC, 1994)
    If there is to be financial compensation for notable genes making contributions to new varieties or hybrids, developing countries may have to pay for that value when in the past, improved germplasm has been available at no cost.
  • Ownership of biodiversity: A developing country’s perspective on an open international debate 

    Solleiro, Jose Luis (NABC, 1994)
    It is essential that intergovernmental negotiations address the creation of a mandatory funding mechanism to recognize, reward and protect the contributions of local communities, farmers and indigenous people of all nations.
  • Farmer's rights: What is fair? 

    Kinsman, John (NABC, 1994)
    We need to take responsibility for the long-term problems following shortsighted decisions on patenting life forms and intellectual property rights. Farmers in this country and around the world are being pushed off their ...
  • Gene ownership versus access: Meeting the needs 

    Tribble, Jack L. (NABC, 1994)
    The continued expansion of biomedical science and the discovery and development of unique highly specific therapeutics will depend on the availability of Research Tools to the academic, governmental and commercial research ...
  • Modem production agriculture 

    Lamola, Leanna M. (NABC, 1994)
    Intellectual property rights play a central role in identity-preserved systems because they allow rights holders to reduce investment risk, preserve the identity, and control the use of value-added factors. Production ...
  • The impact of patents on plant breeding using biotechnology 

    Day, Peter R. (NABC, 1994)
    No matter what new gene a crop cultivar contains, unless its genetic background supports good agronomic performance it will be of no practical interest to growers and farmers. For this reason, a major part of the application ...
  • Access to intellectual property in biotechnology: constraints on the research enterprise 

    Sederoff, Ronald; Meagher, Laura (NABC, 1994)
    Intellectual property rights (IPR) in biotechnology have a negative effect on the progress of non-profit research. Patent policy and law intend to facilitate research progress, but the current practice has led to barriers, ...
  • Property is nothing more than persuasion 

    Merrigan, Kathleen A. (NABC, 1994)
    The U.S. system of intellectual property rights (IPR) may not make sense as it pertains to plants
  • Recent progress in gene isolation and gene mapping: implications for agricultural biotechnology 

    Flavell, Richard B. (NABC, 1994)
    Advances in gene technology are driving plant and animal improvement into a new era which may bring with it argument, economic change and some social chaos. Industry will change, as will the role of research in public ...

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