Patents and the traditional bio-innovation predicament: Critical perspectives

Author Tigist D Gebrehiwot

ISSN: 2521-2591
Affiliations: Post-Doctoral Fellow of the South African Research Chair in Law, Society and Technology, College of Law, University of South Africa
Source: South African Intellectual Property Law Journal, 2019, p. 53 – 70


The aim of this paper is to analyse the application of intellectual property (IP) law in agricultural innovation. Today, global agriculture and food industries are changing due to new technological development. This study evaluates the complex relationships underlying forces operating between traditional bio-innovations and modern technologies. It is important to note that society is currently faced with both technology and knowledge transfer, while the market-driven intellectual property law operates on an individualistic and permission-based platform aimed at protecting the individual’s right of ownership in his or her knowledge. The application of patent law in agriculture is expanding apace and beyond all expectation. This notwithstanding, or possibly for this very reason, the courts across the world are by and large struggling to establish an appropriate legal framework for agricultural innovation. This is significant because agriculture plays a key role in the economic development of society.