This post was first published on September 8th, 2014.
Every country tries its best to ensure that there is no dearth of food. Ensuring that food is of good quality is also important. As much as I’d love to go on talking about food, I will refrain from talking about food per se and concentrate on the legal obligations related to food. This post will concentrate on the relationship between IP and food which is governed by successful research efforts that result in a new plant variety or a plant with new and improved characteristics which qualify for Intellectual Property protection under various national laws and under TRIPS.
The effects of increased use of new biotechnology on the right to food cannot be discussed in isolation, but must also take into account the tendency that biotechnology applications are protected by plants or plant breeders right. Art. 27 of TRIPS gives member states the freedom to exclude from patentability plants and animals other than micro-organisms, and essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals other than non-biological and microbiological processes. However, member states have to provide for the protection of plant varieties either by patents or by an effective sui generis system or by any combination thereof. India enacted the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act, 2001.