Concentration in the ownership of plant variety rights: Some implications for developing countries
Srinivasan, C.S. (2003) Concentration in the ownership of plant variety rights: Some implications for developing countries. Food Policy, 28. pp. 519-546. ISSN 0306-9192
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2003.10.003
This paper explores concentration levels in the ownership of intellectual property rights over plant varieties worldwide. An analysis of data for 30 UPOV member-countries shows a high degree of concentration in the ownership of plant variety rights for six major crops at the national level in the developed world. Much of this concentration has arisen owing to the rapid consolidation of the seed industry through mergers and acquisitions, especially in the 1990s. A high degree of concentration in the ownership of plant variety rights, in combination with recent efforts to strengthen plant variety protection regimes, is likely to have significant effects on the prospects for future innovation in plant breeding and the distribution of market power between companies. For developing countries, concentration in intellectual property right ownership may have important implications for the structure of domestic seed industries and access to protected varieties and associated plant breeding technologies. These implications for developing countries are likely to become apparent in the context of the rapid spread of plant variety protection and access legislation, emerging changes in the international exchange regime for plant material and liberalised investment policies permitting foreign investment in the seeds sector.