Daily Archives: August 5, 2009

Intellectual property rights (in Mexico) & maize breeding; a case study

This case study was a link on the WIPO SMEs Newsletter July 2009.  It’s a paper dated 2004 from a study that took place in 2000.  Not sure why WIPO included this item now, but given the relevance of the topic it seemed worth blogging here. 

It deals with, and outlines some important issues.  (N.B for the study Intellectual Property Rights were defined and limited as; patents, plant breeder’s rights & trade secrets only.)  Interestingly the conclusions highlighted a:

“need for further, more precise empirical research on the impacts of IPR strengthening on developing countries’ agriculture.”

Cue Sebastian Derwisch who is leading the CAS-IP SDM modelling project and doing just that!  Sebastian said:

“Assessment of IPRs is difficult as they are often related to inputs of upstream research – so using impact indicators one mixes the impact of IPRs with several other influences that determine an innovation friendly environment and that might even interact with the use of an IPR system.

Current studies are econometric so they treat IPRs as a monolithic block and try to assess the incentives or disincentives that arise from them, ignoring:

  • the dynamics that result from weak or strong enforcement of IPR,
  • the dynamics that result from the specific form or IPR that is applied
  • that in specific points of the value chains different forms of IPR perform different tasks

It’s hard to come by data to assess the impact of IPR on local industries since in most developing countries IPR frameworks have been implemented only recently – comparisons to developed countries need to be handled with care since local companies in variety development are interacting with multinational actors from developed countries, which can change the structure and the development path of local industries fundamentally”