OECD Development Centre Working Papers

The OECD Development Centre links OECD members with developing and emerging economies and fosters debate and discussion to seek creative policy solutions to emerging global issues and development challenges. This series of working papers is intended to disseminate the OECD Development Centre’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned. These papers are generally available in the original English or French, with a summary in the other language.

English, French

Intellectual Property Rights and Technology Transfer in Developing Country Agriculture

Rhetoric and Reality

The signature of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), which entered into force on 1st January, 1995, marked a turning point in efforts to strengthen and extend intellectual property protection. Under the terms of the Agreement, many developing countries are now committed to extending the scope of intellectual property rights to areas not formerly covered, such as micro-organisms, plant genetic material and techniques used for genetic manipulation. While the likely impact of strengthening intellectual property protection is a subject of intense debate and, indeed, has been at the forefront of preoccupations related to environmental degradation and the need to protect biodiversity, it is poorly researched.

This paper reviews the different forms and scope of intellectual property rights relevant to technology transfer in agriculture; reviews the commitments made by developing countries under the TRIPS agreement and the alternatives ...


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