Agricultural and Rural Development Notes
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This series on commodity risk management aims to disseminate the results of World Bank research that describes the feasibility of developing countries’ ability to utilize market-based tools to mitigate risks associated with commodity price volatility and weather.
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Intellectual Property Rights in the Breeding Industry : Farmers’ Interests(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-06) Louwaars, Niels ; Tripp, Rob ; Eaton, DerekIntellectual property rights (IPRs) in plant breeding are being introduced or strengthened in developing countries as a result of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization. Although living organisms have traditionally been excluded from patent protection, pressures to promote plant breeding in several industrialized countries (including pressure from farmers' organizations) resulted in the development of specially adapted IPRs for plant varieties beginning in the 1930s. Why would farmers be interested in a legal instrument that is likely to make them pay more for seed? The answer is that farmers are the immediate beneficiaries of new varieties, and they benefit from increased investments in breeding. Decisions about what level of farmers' privilege is appropriate in national IPR legislation are further complicated by the related concept of farmers' rights. Farmers' associations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that represent farmers need to be involved in the national debate on agricultural IPRs. Finally, In countries where the rights are weaker, it is important to recognize that private sector incentives for investment will be correspondingly lower, and that public-sector plant breeding will need to be well financed to provide the necessary support.
Public Research in Plant Breeding and Intellectual Property Rights : A Call for New Institutional Policies(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-06) Louwaars, Niels ; Tripp, Rob ; Eaton, DerekThis paper addresses the issue of using intellectual property rights (IPRs) in public sector breeding, and the potential impact on breeding strategies and on the costs and benefits. The paper is based on a study on the impact of IPRs in the breeding industry in developing countries. There are three main reasons for national agricultural research institutes (NARIs) to embrace IPRs: recognition, technology access and transfer, and revenue. Introducing the concept of revenue generation in public plant breeding is likely to have an impact on the distribution of funds within the NARI and on the breeding strategies applied. A second possible impact is that funds will be distributed more to crops with a high value in seed production. The third level of impact is within breeding programs themselves, where researchers have to choose which ecological areas or client groups to target. The paper concludes with suggestions: Policymakers and research managers need to be aware of potential difficulties of matching revenue generation through IPRs and the public tasks of the NARIs. Explicit national and institutional policies are needed to guide choices regarding the management of IPRs in breeding. Research institutes need to prepare for managing IPRs, whether they intend to protect their own inventions or not. Human and financial resources need to be made available, and the institutional culture needs to be adapted to the new developments.
Intellectual Property Rights for Plant Breeding and Rural Development : Challenges for Agricultural Policymakers(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-06) Tripp, Rob ; Louwaars, Niels ; Eaton, DerekAlthough many developing countries have drafted legislation to address plant variety protection (PVP) requirements, relatively few have begun to implement PVP, and little guidance is available on appropriate strategies. This note looks at some of the key decisions facing agricultural policymakers in establishing a PVP regime, examines the implementation of PVP, assesses some of the impacts and limitations of PVP regimes, and identifies policy priorities that complement the establishment of IPRs for plant breeding.
Intellectual Property Rights for Agriculture in International Trade and Investment Agreements : A Plant Breeding Perspective(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-01) Eaton, Derek ; Louwaars, Niels ; Tripp, RobThe agricultural sector, and in particular plant breeding, is one area where this flexibility of intellectual property rights (IPR) is quite broad. This note argues that policymakers need to pay close attention to the role that IPRs can play in agricultural development by providing incentives for both domestic and foreign investments. The note explains the special nature of plant breeding that has given rise to unique forms of IPRs and reviews how this special nature is reflected in article 27(3) b of the TRIPS Agreement. The note also reviews how developing countries are choosing to meet their obligations. It highlights the concern that both bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations may exert pressure on countries to adopt IPR regimes that are more rigid than those required to support national agricultural development.