The Global Seed Market, Competition Law and Intellectual Property Rights: Untying the Gordian Knot
CLES Research Paper Series ISBN 978-1-910801-09-3
47 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016
Date Written: February 1, 2016
The paper explores the competition dynamics of the global seed market. It documents the growth strategies of the major seed companies, in particular their M&A activity and their reliance on complex intellectual property strategies in order to offer a one stop shop solution to farmers. Recent merger activity in this sector (the Monsanto bid to buy Syngenta, the DuPont and Dow merger deal, ChemChina’s bid to buy Syngenta) illustrates its rapid transformation from an already concentrated industry to a tight oligopoly on a global scale. The increasing global consolidation of this industry raises new challenges for competition law enforcement authorities dealing with the emergence of new powerful actors at the factor of production (input) level, in view of the broader concerns animating public policy in the food sector and the existence of a nexus of international commitments for biodiversity, sustainability, the right to food etc. By exploring this under-studied but fascinating area of competition law enforcement we open the debate over the inclusion of broader public interest concerns in competition policy and the consideration of its distributive impact from a global perspective.
Keywords: antitrust, competition law, global food value chain, agricultural markets, mergers and acquisitions, seeds, contract agriculture, cross-licensing agreements, factors of agricultural production, biodiversity, sustainability, global commons, IP rights, plant variety protection rights
JEL Classification: G34, K10, K21, L4, L40, Q10, Q13, Q18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation