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The International Trends in Plant Variety Protection


  • Srinivasan, Chittur S.


This paper examines international trends in plant variety protection, a form of intellectual property rights for plant varieties akin to patents. The TRIPs Agreement under the WTO has given a strong impetus for the universalisation of plant variety protection regimes with common standards of protection across countries. This paper argues that developed and developing countries are likely to adopt widely divergent approaches to the development of intellectual property rights for plant varieties. The special features of plant variety protection constrain the appropriability of economic returns from protected plant varieties. Consequently, in developed countries PVP is being seen as a relatively weak intellectual property right instrument. As stronger forms of protection for plant varieties become available, the importance of plant variety protection in developed countries may decline. Developing countries continue to debate the merits of extending intellectual property rights to agriculture, though they too are obliged under the TRIPs Agreement to protect plant varieties. Their concerns are focused on the “inequities†inherent in a system of plant breeders’ rights. Attempts by developing countries to incorporate farmers’ rights provisions in their PVP systems are likely to dilute the incentives for private investment in plant breeding.

Suggested Citation

  • Srinivasan, Chittur S., 2005. "The International Trends in Plant Variety Protection," eJADE: electronic Journal of Agricultural and Development Economics, Food and Agriculture Organization, Agricultural and Development Economics Division, vol. 2(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ejadef:110134

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rausser, Gordon C. & Scotchmer, Suzanne & Simon, Leo K., 1999. "Intellectual Property and Market Structure in Agriculture," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt70j206tr, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    2. Gregory D. Graff & Gordon C. Rausser & Arthur A. Small, 2003. "Agricultural Biotechnology's Complementary Intellectual Assets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 349-363, May.
    3. Srinivasan, C. S., 2003. "Concentration in ownership of plant variety rights: some implications for developing countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(5-6), pages 519-546.
    4. Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G. & Smith, Vincent H., 1998. "Financing agricultural R&D in rich countries: what's happening and why," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 42(1), March.
    5. repec:cdl:agrebk:141901 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mark Schankerman, 1998. "How Valuable is Patent Protection? Estimates by Technology Field," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 77-107, Spring.
    7. Kalaitzandonakes, Nicholas G. & Bjornson, Bruce, 1997. "Vertical And Horizontal Coordination In The Agro-Biotechnology Industry: Evidence And Implications," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 29(01), July.
    8. C. S. Srinivasan, 2003. "Exploring the Feasibility of Farmers' Rights," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 21, pages 419-447, July.
    9. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
    10. King, John L., 2001. "Concentration And Technology In Agricultural Input Industries," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33631, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pardey, Philip G. & James, Jennifer S. & Alston, Julian M. & Wood, Stanley & Koo, Bonwoo & Binenbaum, Eran & Hurley, Terrance M. & Glewwe, Paul & Mayer, Jorge & Jones, Richard & De Groote, Hugo & Kana, 2007. "Science, Technology and Skills," Reports 136256, University of Minnesota, International Science and Technology Practice and Policy.
    2. Pardey, Philip G. & Alston, Julian M. & Ruttan, Vernon W., 2010. "The Economics of Innovation and Technical Change in Agriculture," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.

    More about this item


    Intellectual Property Rights; Plant Variety Protection; Crop Production/Industries; International Relations/Trade;

    JEL classification:

    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General


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