Agribiotech Patents in the Food Supply Chain: A U.S. Perspective
Ioannis Lianos, Alexey Ivanov & Dennis Davis (eds.) Global Food Value Chains and Competition Law, (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming)
26 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 31, 2018
This chapter highlights U.S. agribiotech patent issues as they relate to the food supply chain. Agribiotech patents challenge how we think about fundamental issues of seed ownership, innovation, and when downstream uses are or should be permissible. Part II of this chapter sketches the arc of agribiotech developments in the U.S. from its colonial past to the current day and observes the evolution of protection over seed traits transition from an open socialist-style franchise to a tightly controlled oligarchy subsisting on patent rights. Part III assesses patent exhaustion through the lens of Bowman and the Court’s more recent decision in Impression Prod., Inc. v. Lexmark Int'l, Inc. Part IV offers observations on three issues: (1) patentees and generic seed companies will remain invested in maintaining compliance for transgenic seed exports; (2) the recent spate of mega-mergers continue the transformation set in motion by the privatization of agriculture more than a century ago, with these mergers benefiting agribiotech companies and farmers abroad, unfortunately, at the expense of U.S. farmers at home; and (3) developments such as retaliatory tariffs on transgenic seed exports will affect agribiotech innovation as surely as developments in patent law, and should be part of any comprehensive analysis of dynamic trends in the food value chain. Part V highlights key areas for future study and concludes.
Keywords: Exhaustion, Patent, Lexmark, Antitrust, Preemption, Tariffs, Bayer, Monsanto, Merger, Agribiotech, Oil States, Bowman
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