Did I Save My Seed for This? United States Intellectual Property Law, the Continuing Shift in Protection From Growers to Developers, and Some Potential Implications for Agriculture
By Ryan Crawford Summary: Advances in genetic modification techniques enable the creation of crops with commercially desirable characteristics. Recombined gene sequences may be inserted into a cropâ€™s genome to protect it against herbicides, insects, or rodents. In the United States, a variety of patent and trade secret protections are afforded the developers of such crops and other genetically modified organisms. The scope of these protections has been interpreted more broadly over the years by the courts. This broadening of legal protections has occurred as the relationship between the developers of seed, the government, and farmers has changed from one in which seed development was largely the work of the government and academia, especially public universities and land grant colleges, to one in which seed development is increasingly privatized, or accomplished through the alliance of private and public forces.