A Man of Flowers: A Reflection on Plant Patents, the Right to Food and Competition Law
Geertrui Van Overwalle
Leuven University; Tilburg University
December 2, 2010
TECHNOLOGY AND COMPETITION, pp. 355-372, J. Drexl, et al., ed., Larcier, 2009
The present paper explores the multi-layered relationship between plant patents, the right to food and competition law. The present contribution takes the view that the growing tendency to appropriate agricultural crops through intellectual property (IP) – thereby making a pivotal shift from plant breeder’s rights to patents – has possibly led to hampering effects on the access to food by poor and disadvantaged groups, particularly in low-income countries. Human rights, in particular the right to food, might act as a welcome instrument to restore the balance between the private demand for a fair reward and the public interest in sustainable food supply. However, when making a human rights approach more exacting, and when translating the right to food into IP mechanisms facilitating access to food, competition law might come into play, adding a layer of complexity and uncertainty to this delicate balancing act.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 10
Keywords: Patent Law, Plant Patent Act, Plant Breeder's Rights, Plant Variety Protection Act, TRIPs Agreement, Agricultural Biotechnology, Golden Rice, Human Rights, Right to Food, Competition Law, SUMCOL, Patent Pool, Clearinghouse, Open Source, Liability Regime
JEL Classification: D23, D45, H1, H51, I18, K11, L14, L4, L65, O13, O31, O32, O34Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 4, 2010
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