4 J. World Intell. Prop. 5 (2001)

handle is hein.journals/jwip4 and id is 1 raw text is: 





     Intellectual Property Rights and Food Security

                 The  Efficacy  of International   Initiatives


                              Jai Prakash MISHRA*


    From  the standpoint of agriculture, two major international initiatives, one by
GATT  and the other by the Food and Agriculture Organization, were taken in the 1990s:
the GATT  concluded its Uruguay  Round  of talks at Marrakesh in 1994, popularly
known  as the GATT/World  Trade Organization Agreement; and the FAo outlined the
action plan of the World Food Summit (WFs) at Rome  in 1996, popularly known as
the Rome  Declaration, for ensuring food security.

    The  GATT/WTo Agreement has, however, attracted more attention than the
Rome   Declaration and there are many reasons why this is so. It is a legally binding
instrument. Each Member  country of the WTo  must comply  with the commitments
made  by  the Member   countries in the various Agreements  of  the GATT/WTO
Agreement. The  Rome  Declaration is not a legally binding instrument. Apart from this,
the GATT/WTo Agreement has a unique feature,   namely, the Agreement on  Trade-
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (commonly called the TRIPS Agreement)
which also covers trade in counterfeit goods. The TRIPS Agreement has attracted world-
wide interest. It seems that in many countries there was little awareness of intellectual
property rights when  the TRIPS  Agreement  was  signed. The problem  was  most
pronounced  in developing countries. Even in India, where the legal systems are well
developed, the level of IPR awareness was low. The Indian legal system was not adequate
for the protection of various types of IPRs discussed in the TRIPS Agreement. There was
no legal system for the protection of two major IPRs, namely, geographical indications
and layout designs of integrated circuits. But the TRIPS Agreement has been viewed with
concern as well. It has been viewed as a threat to domestic industries and agriculture, and
also to food security. The concern is again pronounced in developing countries.
     The problem of food insecurity is increasing in the developing countries. Although
the WFS  of 1996  has discussed the problem of food insecurity at length and made
commitments  for wiping out hunger and food insecurity through the Rome Declaration,
there is a need to analyse whether the commitments and action plans of the WFs are
consistent with the objective of achieving food security. It is also in order to examine
whether the commitments of the WFs have an interface with the GATT/WTO Agreement.

   * Acting Assistant Director General, Economics, Statistics and Marketing Unit, Indian Council ofAgricultural
Research, New Delhi, India.
   The views expressed in this article are personal.

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