Title: Property claims in genetically and non-genetically modified crops: intellectual property rights vs. brand property rights in postindustrial knowledge societies

Authors: Bernhard Gill

Addresses: Institut fur Soziologie, Universitat Munchen (LMU), Konradstrasse 6, Munchen D-80801, Germany

Abstract: Conceptualising the ongoing conflict over genetically modified vs. non-genetically modified crops in the frame of property rights, one can see that economic valorisation dynamics and aspirations are working on both sides, within two differently evolving agri-food paradigms, with biotechnology companies propagating intellectual property rights on seeds and crops within a productivist strategy, and with retailer chains, non-governmental organisations and farmer associations claiming generic names and labels as public property rights on identity-preserved crops within a consumerist strategy. The analysis shows that the direction and strength of the dynamics is highly dependent on the physical intricacies and social relations implicated in these two types of intangible property. As the development of intangible property rights lies at the heart of postindustrial knowledge economies, the study of the genetically modified conflict is also instructive for understanding social change in the agri-food sector and in society more generally.

Keywords: agrifood paradigms; agrifood systems; brand property rights; genetically modified crops; GM crops; geographical indications; identity preservation; IPR; intellectual property rights; value chain analysis; biotechnology companies; retailer chains; non-governmental organisations; NGOs; farmer associations; intangible property rights.

DOI: 10.1504/IJARGE.2009.023074

International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 2009 Vol.8 No.1, pp.14 - 36

Published online: 08 Feb 2009 *

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