24 April 1998
New intellectual rights for plant breeders

INTELLECTUAL property rights of plant breeders are strengthened from today when an international treaty comes into force.

The accord, among other provisions, will prevent genetic engineers from freely copying or using protected plant varieties bred in conventional ways.

A genetic engineer could, up until today, use a protected plant variety of rice, wheat or other crop as a carrier for an innovation such as insect or herbicide resistance without the breeders permission.

The treaty applies to those plants protected under the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, which operates under the World Intellectual Property Organisation umbrella.

  • Financial Times 24/04/98 page 3