Intellectual Property Rights in Plant Genetic Resources: Farmers’ Rights and Food Security in Indigenous and Local Communities (2006) 11 Drake Journal of Agricultural Law 273-305.
This Article examines the evolution and nature of farmers’ rights, as a putative counterbalancing response to intellectual property regimes in the PGRs arena, particularly within the paradigm enunciated in the 2001 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (“ITPGRFA”). The conceptual indeterminacy and legal limitations inherent in farmers’ rights, and how those undermine the concept’s capacity to achieve a balance in the interests of traditional farmers with those of entrepreneurial agro-biotech concerns, is the principal focus of this Article. In general, this Article acknowledges that the elaboration and entrenchment of farmers’ rights in an international legal instrument is a welcome result after almost two decades of struggle. Nonetheless, I argue that farmers’ rights as presently conceived are not capable of moderating the inequities created by intellectual property in PGRs.