North America

SouthViews No. 188, 24 December 2019

Intellectual Property and Plant Protection: Developments and Challenges in Asia

Dr. Kamalesh Adhikari

The creation of legal regimes to protect exclusive intellectual property rights over new plant varieties is not a recent phenomenon. National laws that recognise intellectual property for plant varieties originated decades ago in North America and Europe. The first of these laws took the form of a specialised plant patent regime, which the United States of America introduced in the form of the Plant Patent Act in 1930. A few decades later, laws to protect plant varieties as intellectual property appeared in the form of national plant breeders’ rights regimes in a number of developed countries, initially in Europe and later in other regions. A major motivation for these developed countries to embrace plant breeders’ rights regimes was the advent of the 1961 Convention of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (the UPOV Convention). Mainly after the mid-1990s, an increasing number of developing and least-developed countries in Asia as well have begun either to draft or implement national legislation to grant intellectual property for plant varieties, albeit in ways that are distinct from how developed countries of North America and Europe have conceptualised their national plant breeders’ rights laws. (more…)


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