Title: Intellectual property and Freedom To Operate in the flax breeding world: Canada in the global context

Authors: Viktoriya Galushko; Camille Ryan

Addresses: Economics Department, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2 ' Department of Plant Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5A8

Abstract: Through one-on-one in-depth interviews of Canadian public sector flax breeders, this study explores issues around Intellectual Property (IP) and Freedom To Operate (FTP) in flax breeding from a Canadian perspective. The results are supported by a scan of flax breeding efforts worldwide, an in-depth patent analysis (using Patent Lens and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) databases) and a review of varietal registrations (via the International Union for Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) Variety Registration database) for country-by-country applications to national listings and Plant Breeders Rights (PBRs). The results suggest that while stronger Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) seem to hamper research in some crops, flax breeding – overall – has not witnessed the negative effects of stronger IP protection. Relative to other crops, flax production worldwide is small. The flax breeding industry itself is represented primarily by public research institutions with only a few small private companies operating in this area worldwide. Given the significant involvement of the public sector and the limited use of biotechnology, the flax IP landscape is not as complex as that of other oil crops such as canola and soybeans.

Keywords: intellectual property; freedom to operate; flax breeding; Canada; patents; plant breeders' rights; public sector; patent analysis; Patent Lens; US Patent and Trademark Office; USPTO; databases; USA; United States; varietal registrations; plant varieties; International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants; UPOV; variety registration; national listings; crops; agriculture; flax production; R&D; research and development; public institutions; private companies; biotechnology; oil crops; canola; soybeans; technology; globalisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTG.2012.048325

International Journal of Technology and Globalisation, 2012 Vol.6 No.3, pp.171 - 187

Received: 05 Aug 2011
Accepted: 26 Jan 2012

Published online: 01 Aug 2012 *

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