Is Intellectual Property Pluralism Functional?
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Is Intellectual Property Pluralism Functional?

Edited by Susy Frankel

The international intellectual property (IP) law system allows states to develop policies that reflect their national interests. Therefore, although there is an international minimum standards framework in place, states have widely varying IP laws and differing interpretations of these laws. This book examines whether pluralism in IP law is functional when applied to copyright, patents and trademarks on an international basis.
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Chapter 2: Intellectual property pluralism in African development agendas: food security, plant variety protection and the role of the WIPO

Susan Isiko Štrba


The chapter addresses IP pluralism from both legal and institutional perspectives, using the example of plant variety protection, access to food and food security in Africa. It demonstrates that increasingly, IP pluralism has become less and less functional because the various African IP agendas, with a few exceptions, are evolving in response to external rather than internal stimuli. It investigates how the relationship between global IP governance institutions and African regional and continental arrangements impact on agricultural innovation in Africa. This chapter posits that WIPO already contributes to the way African institutions use IP for plant variety protection. It should be included in the debate on finding solutions to balancing the protection of IP and agricultural innovation in Africa. The chapter, therefore, proposes WIPO as an additional avenue for using agricultural innovation for development in Africa and suggests how it could fulfil this role.

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