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Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights, North-South Trade, and Biological Diversity

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Susanne Dröge, Birgit Soete

In: Environmental & Resource Economics 19 (2001), 2, S. 149-163


In the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement of GATT (1 January 1995) it was agreed to harmonise intellectual property rights (IPR) on an international level and to include the option for patent protection for all life forms such as plants and animals (Article 27 (3) b). Patenting, however, leads to considerable conflicts between international trade and protection of biological diversity, which can be illustrated by the example of seed production. We make use of a three-stage game to show the strategic incentives for implementation of two different property rights regimes (patents and farmers' rights) on competition and biodiversity. We show that the Southern government has no incentive to acknowledge international patents, even if farmers' rights do exist. The Northern producer will always dominate in the output market if patents are applied, but without farmers' rights biodiversity will not be maintained by the Southern government. Thus total payoff of the northern firm is maximized, if both IPR regimes are implemented. However, if only farmers' rights are valid, biodiversity will be maximal.