Study on the use of intellectual property systems in plant breeding

Breeding innovations are relevant for sustainable agricultural development and food security, as new, resilient production systems require crop varieties optimally suited for these systems. In the societal debate around genetic engineering and other plant breeding innovations, ownership of patents on the technology used in the hands of large companies is often seen as a reason that small breeding companies are denied opportunities for further improving varieties or that farmers are restricted in using such varieties.

However, intellectual property (IP) systems may also be used as tools to ensure the use of good agricultural practices when cultivating the resulting varieties. This paper explores documented cases in which IP systems (plant variety rights, patents, and brand names) are used to promote innovative varieties to be grown according to good agricultural practices (GAP). These include effective disease resistance management regimes in innovative crop varieties of potato in order to prevent or delay pathogens from overcoming disease resistance genes, management regimes for transgenic insect-resistant Bt or herbicide-tolerant crops to prevent the development of resistant pests or weeds, respectively.

The results are discussed with respect to the influence of breeders on GAP measures through various forms of IP and the contribution and role of other stakeholders, authorities and society at large in stimulating and ensuring the use of GAP. 

Read the complete research at

Smulders, M.J.M.; van de Wiel, C.C.M.; Lotz, L.A.P. The Use of Intellectual Property Systems in Plant Breeding for Ensuring Deployment of Good Agricultural Practices. Agronomy 2021, 11, 1163. 

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