Plant Varieties Protection and Biotechnology


After discussing the issues in contemporary
patent, it is also important to, to discuss, after discussing issues in contemporary patent,
it is also important to discuss issues related with plant varieties protection and biotechnology. So this particular lecture is going to first
establish the linkage between the intellectual property right and agriculture. So, trips trade related intellectual property
rights, had made agriculture important, as it was the first global agreement which provided
protection of property rights to plant and animal varieties or genetically modified organism
through patents or any other legislation. So, it can protect agriculture goods and services
through different forms such as patents, trademark, geographical indications and trade secrets. As we have seen in case of patents which avoids
the third party to make use and sell patented agriculture product, trademark differentiates
agricultural goods and services different enterprises, geographical indication which
maintains the origin of a product and protects it from third party for example, wines and
spirits, Darjeeling tea, basmati rice etcetera. Trade secrete also help those agricultural
products in terms of hybrid plant varieties. So, we find that trips agreement has given
a new linkage, linkages to the agricultural sector and agricultural sector has some way
out to, to preserve and to own certain rights of certain, certain intellectual property. So, it was the United States which first time
made the law in intellectual property right related to agriculture in 1930 as patent of
plants in two forms first is the sui generis Plant Protection act and then the second Patent
Act. Since then many international agreements have
been made for intellectual property right and agriculture. UPOV convention in 1961 is one which really
gives us a broad range of understanding that how plant breeders are also having the rights
to protect its innovation. Europe started for protection of IPR for plant
breeders in 1961, Trips in the last round of general agreement on tariff and trade in
1994, which was the agreement among the countries of GATT. In 1994, it was the agreement which provided
the protection of plant varieties followed by plant breeder rights started in the late
20th century. Convention of biological diversity treaty
1992, is also important which also gives the controlling power to assess the genetic resources
and biodiversity. And then commission on intellectual property
right in 2002 highlighted absence of IPR in agricultural research. So plant breeders rights, patent, geographical
indications all these new, new terms were evolved and all these terms are the part of
the intellectual property rights related to agriculture in general. So, what basically the benefits of intellectual
property rights and agriculture because as a part of the issues involved in the biotechnology
and plant variety, protection of plant variety is linked with the what benefits of intellectual
property rights is having in agricultural sector, because intellectual property right
is, is, is really important in serial seeds technology for the food security reason, perspective
through the green revolution. It also promotes the IP rights promotes private
sector in developing plant varieties. Research and Development in biotech has increased
the yield and nutritional level of the plants and intellectual property right also provides
incentives to domestic agriculture through foreign companies. We also find out that economic colonialism
is led by the intellectual property right; many critics argue that this is a new type
of colonialism which is developed with the help of intellectual property rights especially
in agricultural sector. So, new technological change agricultural
system from the level of subsistence to the commercialization is being seen in many countries
today including some part of India we find out that, instead of agriculture is not only
in especially in some of the states, where we find that it is not only the matter of
survival for the farmers, but some of the farmers are really active in commercializing
the agriculture. So, there is a competitive effects, affects
quality, competition affects quality, volume and consumption pattern in agriculture and
we find that lots of commercial crops are coming up in India and in other, other neighboring
country. So, how it happened? It happened with the help of the IPR technology
and intellectual property rights firms which has really developed some of the crops, some
of the seeds, some of the plants, which really motivating the new dimensions in agriculture,
new productivity in agriculture and leading us to a different quality, volume and consumption
pattern in agriculture. So IPR, intellectual property rights provides
the incentives for innovation and it also provides the opportunity to transfer the technology
in agriculture. So, two related issues one, is the acquisition
of technology and the second is the adoption of technology is related with biotechnology
and related with protection of plant variety in agriculture. So technologies in biotech product are mostly
found in developed countries, sometimes technology affects rights of indigenous people and local
communities. As we have certain examples from many part
of the world where we are finding that certain technologies are not really taking care of
the local community. (Previous slide description………….)[WU1]
So there are certain challenges of intellectual property rights in agriculture sector. So developing and less developed countries
as we know that these countries are not really countries which has more capacity to invest
in R&D. So they lack in the new patents, legislations
where very poor and still they are trying to resolve that issue and these countries
are requiring the technology to innovate. So due to, due to certain preconditions of
under development in terms of technology, these countries are suffering from, suffering
from the lack of proper resources, IP management, product clearance and evolution etcetera. So, the intellectual property right in agriculture
attached with the food security, bio-safety and natural resources and access to genetic
resources in these countries. So in policy forming, framing process at national
level, policy makers have to comply trade related investment measures agreement also
and farmers safeguard also, when they are inviting investment especially in the biotechnology
sector or in certain other sectors, they have to be very much sensitive because the major
goal remains to provide best technology to local producers and increase quality of resource
such as genplasm[WU2]. So in by biotech market policies are designed,
such that vital inputs of agriculture are accessible and monopoly of multinational companies
are avoided. So international treaties and farmers, technological
knowledge are complimenting in some country, but not complimenting in many country, especially
least developed countries and other developing countries are not in the position to get the
compliment treaty of the international treaties for the farmers technological knowledge. So what are the farmers need because we, we
do find that patent help farmers to access new technologies and fight plant diseases
and pests and climate changes etcetera through innovations and it gives control and protection
to the patentable plants and animals from the third parties, but with patents, a plant
variety can be prevented to be used in breeding purpose, but a breeder can use a protected
variety for another variety, thus patents are more stronger than the breeding. So, sometimes patents force farmers to buy
new seeds instead of their own harvested seeds. So, these are the new challenges for the farmers
and whether the farmers are really having a clear cut control on the, on the seed which
they want to cultivate for the next crop, which they want to use for the next crop,
that is against one of the measure issue. So, how critical patent can be for the plants? So, one side is the, is the condition when
the innovation protected by plants patent system, which cannot be copied without permission
need to pay, then only market can be developed, R&D increases due to increase in the market
incentives producers and consumers both are having the win-win situation because especially
when the consumer is having the capacity to pay and if innovations are leading them to
the new consumerism in the, in the set of new consumer goods, then the consumers are
really happy and as well as the producers are really happy. But the other part of this plant variety protection,
when the an innovation not protected by the patent system no market develops at it can
be easily copied R&D decreases due to the no incentive from the market and producers
and consumers both are losing and the situation of loss occurs .
So, the it is important to really patent or really have the intellectual property of the
plant varieties because in absence of such plant varieties, there isn’t any incentives
for the society to really control the varieties available with them and so there are chances
for easily copying those, those plant varieties by others and all depends on the what type
of investment capacity a country is having or what type of firms or other facilities
a country is having they can really acquire the genes and, and, and they can use really
the biotechnology to evolve a new product and they can really patent and they can get
incentive because they are the real producers and they can again find out the consumers,
since they have the patent rights, they can find out the consumers not in one country,
but many country. So plant variety protection also called plant
breeder rights increase new varieties access to foreign plant varieties market and competitiveness. Plant breeder’s right protected through
international union for the protection of new varieties of plants, set up on 2 December
1961 and revised in 1972, 1978 and 1991. Protection term changed from minimum 15 years,
18 years for trees under UPOV 1978 Act to minimum 20 years and 25 years for trees. A plant variety is protected from other plant
breeders from producing if it is new distinct uniform and stable. Plant breeders rights are, is not given to
the breeders, if breeding acts are done privately and for noncommercial purpose or experimental
purpose and the purpose including provisions of article 14/5 which apply acts refer to
in article 14/1 to 4 in the UPOV of convention act of 1991. So, plant variety protection as new plant
variety is generated, it is applied for the plant variety protection then it is licensed
to it later which gives the loyalty, this loyalty again generates new income, which
is invested in the further R&D activity, so private forms play important role in commercializing
the plant breed varieties and research work under genetic use and restriction
technologies, which includes many firms to control actions of the genes in plants. We are finding that China, Kenya, Poland,
Republic of Korea or Netherland are some of the examples which has already protected some
of the, some of the plants and this shows that some of the countries are really sensitive
to have this plant variety protection. But two important questions which comes here
is should private sector be allowed to explore potentials of biotechnology for developing
countries and can innovation and accessibility issue be solved by intellectual property right
through R&D. So, to answer this questions, we have to see
the invention cost and innovation cost included by the genetically modified organizations
and, and these organizations are really putting hard, to develop a, develop a new types of
crop, new type of seeds, new types of plant and in that case a huge cost is involved by
the private parties and since the private parties are investing a lot, So, they want
return because ultimate goal from such activity is to make profit. So, in case of India, if we see the recent
scenario in India, especially Monsanto a US based agriculture company, which sells leading
seeds brands, technology, hybrid etcetera across countries that entered in India in
1988 and India started using GM seeds in cotton in 2002. So Monsanto introduced BT technology in India
in 90s and was officially approved in 2002; It has gained monopoly in seeds and led to
the deathtrap, royalty extraction, monoculture in cotton and farmers resulting suicide in
cotton bills. Vandana Shiva called it suicide seeds as since
it’s coming about 3 lakh Indian farmers have committed suicide due to failure of BT
cotton. So, this is one of the issue with the, with
the current set of, current set of commercialization of agriculture and the current set of seeds
available to the developing countries because all the seeds needs proper irrigation facility,
proper care and which many farmers are not in the position to really sustain in a country
like India. This Plant Variety Protection, biotechnology
and traditional knowledge we will again have a separate discussion on issues related to
traditional knowledge, but in some case like in case of patent we have seen that neem and
also the turmeric example and also the basmati rice example is not far away from the traditional
knowledge network, we find out that the plant variety protection biotechnology and traditional
knowledge are interlinked. So, country must do a better arrangement to
control biopiracy and unfair usage of genes and if a country is really failed in protecting
the biopiracy, stopping the biopiracy and unfair use of genes, then there are many,
many firms many countries available many organizations and, and multinationals are available in the
world to really capture the opportunity to get certain genes and certain biomaterials,
which can be further used to produce a new variety of plants and seeds and which can
really monopolize the world in a different way. So, with this, this discussion I hope that
you will be in the position to understand that how plant variety protection is important
and why some of the countries has adopted a, a very exclusive or you can say a very
special form of protection that is named as a Sui Generis System of plant variety protection. So, with this note I, I must conclude that
as a part of intellectual property rights, the traditional knowledge or the biotechnological
products and the, and the plant varieties are interlinked and it needs further attempt
to, to protect especially in the bio rich country like India. Thank you. [WU1]This paragraph is the description of
the previous slide. [WU2]It is germplasm as per the slide

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