This article in The Scientist “Opinion: Food Security Needs Sound IP” starts with the all too familiar population projections for the coming years, and the subsequent pressure this will put on agriculture. It goes on to point out that techniques and technologies will be required to meet this challenge – and that IPRs will need to be improved in order to promote the necessary technology transfer to areas most in need.
“The effective use of research and IPR can help drive delivery of innovative and productivity-increasing technologies crucial to agricultural and economic growth and achieving future needs for food security. The key is to match the proper IPR mechanisms with specific conditions, and to manage them effectively and efficiently to promote innovative research, technology transfer, wealth creation, and overall societal benefit.”
The authors outline some pathways for supporting “the sensible introduction and diffusion of new agricultural practices and technologies” which include:
- encouraging enforcement of national laws that comply with TRIPS
- proactive access to modern biotech (including patent pools and open source licensing)
- collaboration (including a supportive community of IPR practitioners!)
- continued building of IP portfolios by national agricultural research institutions.
This is a great opinion piece, looking forward to reading more results from the studies from Washington State University in this area.