Intellectual property and food security

Anecdotal evidence suggests that a number of factors have contributed to the growing importance of intellectual property in relation to the goal of improving food security in developing countries. These include changes in national intellectual property laws that have expanded the scope of what can be protected, developments in international intellectual property law which forced many countries to remove provisions in their patent law which excluded food and food processes from patentable subject matter, the increased use of public-private partnerships, changes in the international regimes that regulate genetic resources, and the increased use of intellectual property protection to foster investment in developing countries. ACIPA researchers are exploring innovative new ways in which to formalise these uses of intellectual property for addressing food security problems. The aim of this research project is to identify ways to maximise the potential benefits that intellectual property offers to improve food security, while minimising the potential for intellectual property to hinder efforts to promote food security.

desert irrigation
Libyan pivot irrigation. Image credit: futureatlas.com.