Author: Muskaan Bindra, pursuing BBA LLB (H) from Amity Law School, Amity University, Noida, U.P.
During debates about the intellectual property regime, particularly as it influenced developing countries, protection given by law for food security rights has become one of the most prodigious issues.
Food security is a fundamental human right and described as a prompt access to adequate nutrient supplies. I strongly agree that the recognition as a resource to improve and encourage social well-being and imagination of citizens of the international, legal, and economic relations between food protection and the IPR is connected to each other. The right to health concerns directly with food security, which then refers to the right of intellectual property, which is the protection of the plant species, also referred to as the right of a plant breeder and to the biological processes applicable to genetic resources and biodiversity components.
In this paper the connections between food safety and intellectual property are established, so that the creases emerging in the application of the law of intellectual property and in the very definition of food security can be eliminated.
FOOD SECURITY AND IPR IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Food insecurity is essentially an individual-related phenomenon and is dictated by the three factors relating to food access and guarantees. At the present time, however, the universal supply of food at a national level is of negligible importance. In certain parts of the world, the quality of food is also a big problem for many citizens. In those countries where undernourishment already exists, and where there is less access to arable land, food insecurity is a major policy challenge in the years to come.
Food Security was defined in the 1974 World Food Summit as:
"World's supply of ample food resources to maintain a steady increase in food demand and to account for variations in production and prices at any time"
For several years the total available food in India has been more than enough, but the number of undernourished people continues to rise. Individual food protection ensures that individuals have enough money to buy food, or have the potential to consume directly by planting food. Consequently, poverty and food security are directly linked.
FOOD SECURITY AND IPRs
The ties between IPRs and food protection are various. For almost all developing nations the new paradigm, which emphasizes the appropriate use of knowledge and resources in agriculture, is of great importance. Agriculture and its management are linked directly to the needs of food. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure that the rights of property introduced in agriculture generally reduce food insecurity. As a consequence, IPRs adopted in farming will ensure that the equilibrium is developed between technical advancement and food health, i.e. the preservation of plant varieties and farming rights and patents.
GENERAL TRENDS AND IMPLEMENTATION
DEVELOPMENTS IN INDIA IN CONTEXT OF FOOD SECURITY AND IPR
India is an interesting case study since independence it has witnessed many structural improvements in food protection policies in support of IPRs.
The Patents Act, 1970 was focused on the Western patent model, while still providing provisions to promote and expressly prohibit the patenting of farming or horticultural techniques.
Substantial improvements to the Act have been rendered only in this region since the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement. Some changes introduced in the last decade as part of the three amendments to the Patents Act will impact farming and food security directly. These restrictions contravened Article 27 of the TRIPS Agreement directly. Nevertheless, in compliance with Article 65.4 of the TRIPS, in some fields of manufacturing, emerging countries have historically refused to allow for patent rights in certain regions for an additional five years.
B. BIODIVERSITY ACT, 2002
The Biodiversity Act, 2002, plays an extremely important role in food safety, since biodiversity management laws have a strong influence on food security. The Biological Diversity Act, acts as a link between the IPR's and the biodiversity management system. It highlights the issue of access to and response to existing challenges. The Act recommended that the exposure to biological materials or associated knowledge system would be limited for all foreigners. The Act seeks to preserve the interests of India in the strongest terms, as do other States.
The Biodiversity Act is rather strict in relation to IPRs, because before applying for these property rights all inventors are expected to seek approval from the National Biodiversity Commission.
C. THE SEED BILL AND IPR, 2004
Under the light of the parallel passage of the 3rd Patent (Amendment) Act, the application of Seed Bill 2004 must be implemented. The 2004 Seed Bill just seeks to discourage framers from preserving seeds and reproducing seeds and modifying crops.
The current law on seeds gives farmers the possibility of obtaining redress under the Law on Consumer Security. In every way that this alternative is available to farmers and the Central Authority's coercive control, which prohibits farmers from growing seeds, offers little protection and solution for our farmers from untested and dangerous seeds sold in the Indigenous Markets by MNCs.
The 2004 Seed Bill did not work in the interests of the country's farmers. This act guarantees private seed business a monopoly that has negatively affected and already driven farmers to suicide by thousands of men. This is because of failure and debt incurred by weak and heavily reliant crops.
In developing countries, food insecurity has been a concern for days, which has been linked to different policy challenges. The TRIPS Agreement essentially will not offer developed countries the ability to preserve a geopolitical buffer from the implementation of protection for plant species. Nevertheless, the sui generis approach opens up an open door for developed countries to establish IPRs which respond well to their unique needs and take all their international responsibilities into account, for instance obligations under the environmental, agricultural and human rights treaties.
In this case it is fundamental for farmers and their nations to develop the rights of farmers. It should be stated, in fact, that the right of farmers suitably prepared should not be restricted to the gain of farmers and their populations but should seek to promote the sustainable management of agrobiodiversity, to provide governments with resources for biopiracy and more for the management of food insecurity.