IP in agricultural biotechnology: balancing innovation and access 2023-08-31

In the realm of modern agriculture, biotechnology has emerged as a powerful tool, enabling the development of crops with enhanced yield, improved resilience to pests and diseases, and increased nutritional value. However, the intersection of biotechnology and agriculture raises significant questions about intellectual property (IP) rights, as innovative solutions often require substantial investments in research and development.

Patenting in the context of agricultural biotechnology has sparked debates, particularly when it comes to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Critics argue that patenting genes or specific gene sequences raises concerns about monopolization of essential resources, potentially hindering research by smaller players or limiting access to developing countries.
The dichotomy between innovation and access underscores one of the core challenges in the agricultural biotechnology landscape. On one hand, robust intellectual property protection encourages companies to invest in research, leading to the development of cutting-edge technologies that address agricultural challenges. On the other hand, the monopolistic nature of strong IP rights can stifle competition, limit the availability of affordable technologies, and hinder the diffusion of innovations to regions that need them the most.

To strike a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring equitable access, various mechanisms have been proposed. These include compulsory licensing, which allows governments to grant licenses to use patented technologies in the interest of public health or essential needs. Additionally, technology-sharing initiatives and collaborations between public and private sectors can help bridge the gap between IP protection and global access to agricultural biotechnologies.
The role of intellectual property in agricultural biotechnology extends beyond profit considerations, encompassing broader ethical and societal implications. With a growing global population, ensuring food security is of paramount importance. Biotechnological advancements have the potential to boost crop yields and improve nutritional content, contributing significantly to feeding the world's population. However, the equitable distribution of these innovations is crucial to addressing hunger and nutritional deficiencies.



Tamara Besednjak Valič

Faculty Of Information Studies In Novo Mesto

e-mail: tamara.valic@fis.unm.si


Virág Szuák

Pannon Business Network Association

e-mail: virag.szuak@pbn.hu