Beginning in 1980, and due to a number of significant court decisions, legislative initiatives and international economic agreements, there has been an increase in the importance and use of intellectual property mechanisms, such as patents, in protecting biological materials, including seeds and engineered crop traits. The trend originated in the U.S. but has since diffused to OECD and non-OECD nations. A parallel but related set of policies designed to promote the patenting of university and federally funded research discoveries has also become evident in the U.S. and globally. In this paper, we discuss the trend toward more restrictive IP protections in agriculture through national-level policies and international economic agreements especially for new plant varieties. We then present the case of plant science research in Taiwan, including interviews with 15 plant scientists, to illustrate how transnational trends can impact and interact with national level policies and practices. And, how research scientists can play critical roles in furthering or retarding the progression of the proprietary research model in plant science.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science