Sui Generis Plant Variety Protection: The Indian Perspective
Rohan Dang and Chandni Goel
DOI : 10.3844/ajebasp.2009.303.312
American Journal of Economics and Business Administration
Volume 1, 2009
Problem statement: Plant variety protection relates to intellectual property rights over plant varieties which guarantee rights-holders exclusive commercial rights for a specific period of time. Article 27 (3)(b) of the TRIPS Agreement, compulsorily mandates that every member-state of the WTO must introduce such protection through domestic legislation by certain set time frames. These rights are one form of IPR being aggressively imposed on developing countries and are often touted as a 'soft' patent regime. Plant variety laws are just as threatening as industrial patents on biodiversity and also represent an attack on the rights of farming an other communities at the local level. From a legal perspective, the protection of plant varieties in India remains an issue which is far from settled even though the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act was adopted in 2001 in compliance with the TRIPS Agreement. This study argued that the goal of the IP regime should be to balance the competing needs of maximizing societal innovation while appropriately rewarding the individuals that contribute to that innovation. Towards this end, the study seeks to analyze the issues related to the protection of plant varieties with reference to the TRIPS agreement along with the biodiversity treaty and the PGRFA Treaty. One of the chief distinguishing features of the PGRFA Treaty is its emphasis on farmers' rights. This characteristic is analyzed further in the Indian context. Conclusion: Plant variety protection is linked to both agricultural innovation and the conservation of biological resources, although on different levels. The present international legal framework remains partly inconclusive with regard to they type of agricultural management that it seeks to encourage. Though the development of sui generis programs for plant variety protection is still in a nascent stage, this paper analyses the advantages and disadvantages of the Farmers' Rights Act, 2001 and submits proposals for a better future. In conclusion, IPR and agriculture and sustainable development are indeed integrated and the homogenization of international law is the only panacea to the mutual needs of both, the North and the South.
© 2009 Rohan Dang and Chandni Goel. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.