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IPR, Seeds and Farmers’ Rights. EMERGING ISSUES - Ditdit Pelegrina, SEARICE. IPR (intellectual property rights) on seeds. Exclusive proprietary rights on seeds Argued as driving force for innovation and pre-condition for investments

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ipr seeds and farmers rights

IPR, Seeds and Farmers’ Rights


- Ditdit Pelegrina, SEARICE

ipr intellectual property rights on seeds
IPR (intellectual property rights) on seeds

Exclusive proprietary rights on seeds

Argued as driving force for innovation and pre-condition for investments

Japan-Philippines; US-Philippines - with conditions on patent and plant variety protection

US-Singapore: patent protection for transgenic plants and animals

US-Morroco: patent protection for plants and animals

US-Vietnam: plant variety protection

Comes in different forms - patents, plant variety protection, geographic indication

global proprietary seed market
Global Proprietary Seed Market

2009: US$32B

US$18B increase from 2001 fgures

Attributed to increased use traits and stacked trait corn (GM corn) in South America

Vegetable seed industry: US$3.8B

growing business
Growing business

In 2000

Dow (US) with 30% pending applications on gene sequences for corn

Ribosome (US) with 72% application for potatoes

Dupont (US) with 41% application for wheat genes

2010: increasing trend towards patenting products of conventional breeding (not GMOs)

Test case under EPO: brocolli (Bioscience) - patent application on seeds and breeding method

wrinkled tomato (Israel) - ‘essentially biological processes’

review of some patent application on plants in the philippines as inventions
Review of some patent application on plants in the Philippines (as inventions)

Rice transposone gene by Japan Science and Technology Agency

Process of transformation of rice using transposon gene + transformed rice (seeds and plants) + methods of use - Japan Science and Technology Agency

Seed production of hybrid rice - Peijin Huang by Hainan Province, China

Herbicide resistant rice - Timothy Croughan of USA

Method of breeding rice plants of new variety with resistance to herbicides - Hokko Chemical Industry, Japan

impacts of ipr
Impacts of IPR

Control over seeds and food and agriculture production

Form of enclosure for farmers and for consumers (we pay for these IPR)

Limits research: need to pay for the license to use the genes or the seeds for research

Privatization of resource: genetic resource

Limits access by poor farmers on materials unless it is paid for (other side: creates dependency)

Goes against Farmers’ Rights to save, use, sell and exchange seeds

Cornerstone of rich agricultural biodiversity - the base for our food security


Remains untapped, not priority area

  • Farmers supply bulk of seeds

Supplies 80-90% of seed requirement

informal seed system by farmers

Photo: CBDC-Nan


Actual partition of rice seed supply in Vietnam

Formal sector

Informal sector

Seed Centers and State-owned Enterprises

Farm-saved seed

The total seed


Local Trading

and Exchange

Private companies

From Presentation of Michael Turner, Danida

farmers seed system
Farmers seed system

Important seed source

Need for farmers to have control over their seeds especially in time of climate change

Need for access to old and new materials

Need to be ‘protected’ from IPR and mis-appropriation as part of upholding Farmers’ Rights over seeds