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Intellectual Property Rights in Agriculture: Implications for Seed Producers and Users (03-25)

Intellectual Property Rights in Agriculture:
Implications for Seed Producers and Users

Beyond pharmaceuticals, the greatest attention on intellectual property rights (IPRs) has been in their application to agriculture. On Nov. 2, 2003, Farm Foundation brought together seed producers, users and researchers to examine information and policy issues related to IPRs and agriculture.

Business and financial interests consider IPRs the basis of the value of a corporation in the current technological era. Critics see patents and other IPR protections as the cause of high prices and needless technologies. The debate runs through Congress, academia, religious institutions and non governmental organizations (NGOs).

In agriculture, IPRs are a common element among those concerned about food security, biotechnology, industry structure, crop genetic diversity and environmental issues. Some argue IPRs make possible advances in crop productivity while providing environmental benefits. Others cite research contractions in the public sector, attributing it to the control granted by IPRs and predicting more "factory farms" producing less healthy food in the future. Congress lacks crucial information and analysis needed to consider if, or what type of legislative action might be needed.

Workshop participants assessed information and options available, making recommendations on policy issues that must be addressed and research work needed. Click here for the conference  highlights. Papers and presentations of the workshop speakers are posted here.






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