Law Faculty Scholarship


In order for agricultural biotechnology (agri-biotech) to play a larger role in the development of sustainable agricultural systems, intellectual property (IP) rights management must be addressed. These issues are not limited to developing countries. With increased globalization, the management of agri-biotech IP rights affects both developing and industrialized countries. In industrialized countries, for example, IP rights risk management entails protection of inventions via strong patent portfolios. For developing countries, IP rights risk management includes the acquisition of rights requisite for the use of inventions essential to the basic welfare of the population. Strategies are needed to bridge these disparate IP management paradigms to facilitate the successful transfer of the agri-biotech from an industrialized country source to a developing country recipient.

This paper examines IP management linked to agri-biotech products. Further, this paper examines Golden Rice, a genetically engineered rice strain that accumulates beta-carotene (i.e., pro-vitamin A) in the endosperm tissue of grain, as a case study for IP management, with emphasis on the international movement of agri-biotech from industrialized to developing countries. Topics discussed include: the application of agri-biotech to international development; the challenge of transferring this technology from industrialized to developing countries; a method for evaluating the IP constraints impinging on the deployment of Golden Rice; industrialized/developing country perspectives vis-a-vis IP rights management; six shorter-term options for the management of IP connected to Golden Rice; and a longer-term proposed path to sustainable transfers of agri-biotech products.

Publication Date


Journal Title

RISK: Health, Safety & Environment

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Additional Information

This article was also made available as Paper 7 in the Pierce Law Faculty Scholarship Series by NELLCO (