An Analysis of the Implications of Strengthened Intellectual Property Rights to Agriculture of Developing Countries and Responses of Selected Public Research Institutions in Southeast Asia
Payumo, Jane Garcia
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Better understanding of intellectual property rights (IPR) is indispensable to informed policy making in all areas of development, including agriculture - the backbone of economy of majority of developing countries. For this reason, IPR and its impact to the future of agriculture in developing countries should gain priority in public discussions. As a contribution to the IPR debate, this dissertation analyzed the implications of the expansion of IPR to agricultural development, and determined how public agricultural research in developing countries has responded to the concept of IPR and its developments. Specifically, this dissertation reviewed the interaction of IPR, the WTO-TRIPS Agreement, and agriculture, and demonstrated through empirical analysis that the expansion of IPR in agriculture can positively impact agricultural development not only of developed countries, as critics would claim, but also of developing countries. Second, initially focusing on five developing countries in Asia, this research demonstrated that public R&D institutions in this region have good knowledge on the concept of IPR, its features, and tradeoffs, and have started to build their institutional IP management structures and procedures to cope with IPR issues. Interestingly, this research found that research managers and scientists in these countries do not find IPR as a constraint to access proprietary technologies and research products they need to continue doing research. These attitudes of the public sector personnel on the implications of IPR on access, along with research generation, and technology transfer are found associated with their socio-demographic characteristics (i.e., education, position, and country of citizenship). Based on all these findings, this dissertation offers some recommendations that can open the door to transformative change among developing countries and their public research institutions to efficiently respond to the challenges, and opportunities of managing and exploiting IPR.