IP rights "not the driver" for vegetable varieties innovation

While most felines have little affection for vegetation, the IPKat is something of an exception. He has just been perusing "Patents and Vegetable Crop Diversity", a US research paper by Paul J. Heald (Allen Post Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law) and his colleague Susannah Chapman of the same university's Department of Anthropology.

According to the abstract:
"The intellectual property system does not seem to drive the rate of innovation in the market for vegetable varieties. Drawing on a unique data set of all plant patents, plant variety protection certificates, and utility patents among 42 vegetable varieties, this short paper examines the relationship between intellectual property rights in vegetable crops and the diversity of commercially available varieties. Three findings are of particular interest:

(1) Only 3.8% of varieties available in 2004 were ever subject to protection under patent law or the Plant Variety Protection Act;

(2) More than 16% of all vegetable varieties that have ever been patented were commercially available in 2004; and

(3) In 2004, approximately 4.5% of protected, or once protected, varieties consisted of inventions that were at least twenty years old.
Although intellectual property rights appear to be an insignificant part of the crop diversity story, they exhibit much higher commercialization rates than expected (the conventional wisdom suggests a 5% rate), and they exhibit a slower rate of obsolescence than expected. Complete data on individual vegetable types are provided, and the sui generis nature of corn is also discussed".
The IPKat doesn't just like vegetables; he also appreciates research using real-world data that flies in the face of the sort of conventional wisdom that lives on the library shelves. Keep it up, Paul and Susannah!

You can get this paper via the SSRN website here
The IPKat's earlier post on Paul and Susannah''s research here
Why cats should eat some vegetables here
Can cats digest vegetables? Click here
IP rights "not the driver" for vegetable varieties innovation IP rights "not the driver" for vegetable varieties innovation Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, November 20, 2009 Rating: 5

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