16 May 2011
Animal Breeders’ Rights?
NCCR Trade Regulation Working Paper No 2011/24 by Michelangelo Temmerman
Analysing the regulatory framework of innovation in the realm of animal genetic resources delivers an immediate surprise. Whereas IP systems to protect plant varieties have been developed since the 1930s, no such system has ever been conceived or even thoroughly studied in relation to animal breeds. The question is whether this inaction is rooted in a lack of necessity, biological obstacles, or in a simple lack of (policy) analysis. The present paper presents the hypothesis that the creation of such a system could – if properly tailored thereto – respond to a number of needs. It identifies and analyses the elements which could call for the implementation of ‘Animal Breeders’ Rights’: innovation, the conservation and use of biodiversity, and economic development of agricultural regions. Then, it looks at the likely obstacles to finally addressing the concrete shape it could take.