[Excerpt from article] Intellectual property (IP) capacity is essential for economic development, particularly as countries transition into the higher technology sectors, for example biotechnology. For developing countries, a commitment to minimal IP rights protection will determine inclusion in the World Trade Organization (WTO), facilitate access to foreign-direct investment, and accelerate economic development. However, on a more fundamental level, capacity in IP management will affect whether a country can provide basic health and nutritional needs for its citizens. For example, sustainable food security presents a serious challenge in many developing countries; as their economies rapidly emerge, urban centers expand, arable land and fresh water decrease, and growing populations demand more protein in their diets. This is where the promise of agricultural biotechnology can make a difference. Yet, such cutting edge innovations in biotechnology invariably have IP rights attached; and depending on the level of IP education, awareness and human and institutional capacity present in a developing country, accessing such essential innovations can be straightforward, difficult or simply impossible.

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Germeshausen Center Newsletter

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