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Should We Patent Plants

Should We Patent Plants

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Published by Abdussalam
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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Abdussalam on Jun 20, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Your NameTeacher’s NameCourseDateShould we patent plants?A plant patent is granted to an inventor who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduceda distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in anuncultivated state.The progress of science and technology poses continuous challenges toadaptability of patenting plants. The past provides a powerful force in shaping the attitudes andactions of the present. It is therefore useful in matters of debate to trace the history of eventsrelating to patenting plants. It was not until the twentieth century when advances in geneticresearch faced the patent system with the question of whether plants should be patented or not. Now-a-days, in many countries including United Sates of America are making laws in order tofulfill the obligation under WTO with respect to protection of intellectual property rights. The purpose of this paper is the assessment of the likely effects of patenting plants on the producersand consumers of agricultural products around the world with more focus on the United States of America.A patent is a state-carried ownership which permits the patent holder to enjoy royalties and setconditions for his/her invention over a number of years. Now-a-days, patents are being grantedon the genetically modified crops and plants. In the traditional sense, the patent was applied toindustrial processes or inventions, i.e. the patentable object was something recognizably a unique product of personal effort. In today’s world, inventiveness is no longer a flash of genius. It has become more of an institutional process. The individuals and inventors of the past have now
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 become corporations and governments. In the late middle ages, large seed firms establishedwhich now control most of the economy of the agricultural industry. The question arises, “Whatwould be the effect of patenting plants on the farmers as well as the economy of United States of America?” In order to provide an answer to this question, some of the major facts and studies inthis regard need to be analyzed. Granting patents on plants excludes anyone else from making,selling or distributing which is obviously beneficial to the multinational companies instead of thecommon farmers.For the majority, the ethical justification of patenting plants is a question of social ethics. It is notone involving the consideration of plants for their own sake and therefore not the object of discussion either. For a minority, the patenting of plants as such is morally not allowed andcontradicts the dignity of living beings with respect to plants.A plant patent lasts for 20 years from the date of filing the patent application and gives theinventor the right to exclude others from asexually reproducing, selling, or using the plant soreproduced. This protection is limited to a plant under the following conditions:
A living plant organism which expresses a set of characteristics determined by its single,genetic makeup, which can be duplicated through asexual reproduction, but which can nototherwise be "made" or "manufactured."
Sports, mutants, hybrids, and transformed plants are comprehended; sports or mutants may be spontaneous or induced. Hybrids may be natural, from a planned breeding program, or somatic in source. While natural plant mutants might have naturally occurred, they musthave been discovered in a cultivated area.
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Algae and macro fungi are regarded as plants, but bacteria are not. (“What is a plant patent?”By United States Patent and Trademark Office)Although some of the above points can be considered as beneficial to some of the people but theadverse effects of patenting plants must also be considered.Part II, Section 5, Article 27 of theTRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of the Intellectual Property Systems) agreement which isresponsible for passing such laws permits its member countries to grant patents for all inventionsincluding both the product or process patent irrespective of the field of technology, provided theyfulfill the patentability criteria.The Third Amendment in the Patents Act 1970 came into force on 1st January, 2005. Itincorporated the provisions for granting product patent in all fields of Technology includingchemicals, food, drugs & agrochemicals. Firstly, it allows patents on seeds and plants which arenot a result of essentially biological process. Thus, it can be interpreted that if one gets a patent,he owns the very plant at large. So, it can be said that the patent providers actually arecontrolling the lives of many farmers.In the light of the above rules, it can be interpreted that a company can introduce new biologicaltechnologies and then have the rights over that plant on which experiments were being carriedout. Genetically modified plants result in genetic pollution whereas the patent holders easily getaway with it terming it as their right to perform experiments on those plants.As the patents are granted on seeds in Canada, the applicability of such unilateral Canadian lawswill adversely affect the status of the farmers all around the world. Countries like U.S.A. providethe most tolerant scenario, providing patent option to protect plant and plant varieties. The

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