Table of Contents

Knowledge Management and Intellectual Property

Knowledge Management and Intellectual Property

Concepts, Actors and Practices from the Past to the Present

Queen Mary Studies in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Stathis Arapostathis and Graham Dutfield

The book links the practices and regimes of the past with those of contemporary and emerging forms, covering the mid-19th century to the present. The contributors are noted scholars from various disciplines including history of science and technology, intellectual property law, and innovation studies. The chapters offer original perspectives on how proprietary regimes in knowledge production processes have developed as a socio-political phenomenon of modernity, as well as providing an analysis of the way individuals, institutions and techno-sciences interact within this culture.

Chapter 13: Intellectual property rights in the plant sciences and development goals in agriculture: An historical perspective

Niels Louwaars, Bram de Jonge and Peter Munyi

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, innovation and technology, knowledge management, law - academic, intellectual property law


Various debates concerning the roles of intellectual property right (IPRs) in society are currently ongoing. One of these involves the ‘ownership over life’ – the patenting of components of life and its role in innovation and business development (Willison and MacLeod, 2002; Kevles and Berkovitz, 2001; CropLife, 2011). Another debate that has been going on for several decades already relates to the role of IPRs in development policies, notably in health but increasingly also in agriculture (Andreasson, 2006; Tansey and Rajotte, 2008; van Genugten et al., 2011) including the protection of technologies developed by public research (Petit et al., 2001; CGIAR Science Council, 2006; CGIAR Consortium Office, 2012). IPRs such as patents are intended to provide incentives for investment in research and development through the provision of an exclusive right on the commercial use of the invention. They play an important role in technology transfer. It is, however, unclear how such rights promote or obstruct access to and sharing of technologies in non-market situations such as resource- poor farmers’ access to seeds. This chapter analyses the co-evolution of (public and private) plant breeding in Europe, the U.S.A. and in some developing countries since the nineteenth century, with the aim of better understanding current debates relevant to the legal protection of components of plants and on the development aspects of IPRs in public research.

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