Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property
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Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property

Edited by Christophe Geiger

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property is a comprehensive reference work on the intersection of human rights and intellectual property law. Resulting from a field-specific expertise of over 40 scholars and professionals of world renown, the book explores the practical and doctrinal implications of human rights on intellectual property law and jurisprudence. In particular, the chapters scrutinize issues related to interactions among and between norms of different legal families, the role of human rights in development of the balanced intellectual property legal framework, standing case-law of national and regional courts and intellectual property offices reconciling overlapping rights and obligations, and identify the practical significance of different human rights for the exercise of intellectual property rights.
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Chapter 28: Right to food and intellectual property protection for plant genetic resources

Claudio Chiarolla


This chapter sets out to consider the interface between the right to food, as a fundamental human right, and the protection of intellectual property for plant genetic resources (PGR). At the outset, it is important to explain why plant genetic resources are so important for the realization of the right to food. Crop diversity is the biological cornerstone of global food security. Therefore, equity in the way PGR are used and exchanged, and the benefits arising from agricultural science and technology made available, is key to alleviating poverty. When it comes to crop diversity, all countries and peoples are inter-dependent and no country in the world is self-sufficient in terms of its endowment of PGR. In addition, the sustainable use, improvement and in situ conservation of crop diversity play an essential role as a livelihood and food-security strategy for small-scale farmers. In the face of climate change, access to crop genetic diversity is essential for agricultural adaptation and survival. Thus, PGR are a strategic resource for sustainable agriculture and they underpin nutritional well-being and human health. For all the above reasons, legal requirements that restrict access to, and use of, crop diversity, whether they belong to intellectual property or biodiversity-related legislation, run the risk of having a negative impact on the progressive realization of the right to food. Section 2 of the chapter presents major developments concerning the legal recognition and the progressive realization of the right to adequate food as a fundamental human right.

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