Plant variety protection in developing countries: A view from the private seed industry in India
Srinivasan, C.S. (2004) Plant variety protection in developing countries: A view from the private seed industry in India. Journal of New Seeds, 6 (1). pp. 67-89. ISSN 1522-886X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1300/J153v06n01_05
Many developing countries are currently engaged in designing and implementing plant variety protection systems. Encouraging private investment in plant breeding is the key rationale for extending intellectual property rights to plant varieties. However, the design of plant variety protection systems in developing countries has been dominated by concerns regarding the inequities of a plant variety protection system, especially the imbalance in the reward structure between plant breeders and farmers. The private seed industry, a key stakeholder in plant variety protection, appears to be playing only a peripheral role in the design of the intellectual property rights regime. This paper explores the potential response of the private seed industry in India to plant variety protection legislation based on a survey of major plant breeding companies. The survey finds that the private seed industry in India is generally unenthusiastic about the legislation and plant variety protection is likely to have only a very limited impact on their research profile and expenditures on plant breeding. Measures designed to curb the 'excessive' profits of breeders, farmers' rights provisions and poor prospects for enforcement of rights are seen to be seriously diluting breeders' rights, leaving few incentives for innovation. If the fundamental objective of plant variety protection is to stimulate private investment in plant breeding, then developing countries need to seriously address the question of improving appropriability of returns from investment.