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TRANSGENIC PLANTS AND WORLD AGRICULTURE
rights should not be granted. To grant such rights would stifle further research and development. Intellectual property rights should be narrowly tailored to be commensurate with the actual scope of new inventions and discoveries so as not to impede continuing research, innovation and development.
For the above reasons, it is important to consider the impact of intellectual property rights on developing countries. To benefit the growing populations of the developing world, new plant varieties will have to be developed through a variety of sources, including: (i) farmers who select plants that succeed best in their particular locality for the retention of seed for future use or sale; (ii) public or pro bono research institutions financed out of taxes or charitable grants that provide improved varieties to appropriate users free or at cost; and (iii) for-profit companies interested in creating new products and markets that develop new varieties financed through profits from seed sales. As instruments of public policy, intellectual property regimes should facilitate the maximum possible innovation in development of beneficial new crop varieties through individual, public and corporate sources, as well as promote research collaboration.
Special attention should be paid to international conventions that may affect innovation in agriculture. These conventions include Trade Related Intellectual Property (TRIPs), patent law, plant variety protection and the Convention on Biological Diversity. To be effective, these conventions should be consistent with each other so as to reduce any distortions in the promotion of innovation by farmers, public research institutions, and for-profit corporations. At present, it appears that many less developed countries are reluctant to join in international intellectual property agreements on plants because they believe that such agreements will create a system that strongly favors the corporate sector—while simultaneously hampering the public and private sector efforts that support their own citizens. In fact, many of the intellectual property rights that exist today in industrialized nations apply to the tools used in