'That plant is my ancestor'. The significance of intellectual property on food security in developing countries

Sue Farran

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The global significance of intellectual property laws is familiar to most of those interested in this area of law. What might be less familiar is the impact of intellectual property on the issue of food security in developing countries. This paper considers the consequences of factors such as TRIPS plus compliance imposed on recent entrants to the World Trade Organisation, the role of UPOV and impact of protecting plant breeders' rights on food security in developing countries. In particular the paper focusses on examples drawn from the Pacific where island countries are not only considering WTO membership or have recently signed up to this and incurred consequent IP obligations, but where food security is increasingly under pressure due to climate change, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity shifts in agricultural practice and knowledge transfer, changing socio-economic patterns and the consequences of the global economic crisis. This is also a region where Western models of IP, although prevalent as introduced and imposed concepts, fit uneasily with forms and practices of indigenous traditional knowledge and practice which may be better suited to ensuring sustainability of food crops than the present thrust of IP laws.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2013
EventSLSA Annual Conference - York Law School, University of York
Duration: 26 Mar 2013 → …


ConferenceSLSA Annual Conference
Period26/03/13 → …
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