Patent Rights to Genetically Modified Crops as a New Form of Colonialism Cover Image

Patentna prava na genetički modificirane usjeve kao novi oblik kolonijalizma
Patent Rights to Genetically Modified Crops as a New Form of Colonialism

Author(s): Ivica Kelam
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: Hrvatsko Filozofsko Društvo
Keywords: patent rights; corporations; Monsanto; Percy Schmeiser; terminator technology; colonialism; TRIPS; WTO

Summary/Abstract: The intention of this paper is to point out that the verdict of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Diamond vs. Chakrabarty allowed patenting of life forms. With this verdict, biotech corporations were given a boost in patenting and marketing their products, primarily genetically modified crops. The possibility of patenting life forms, from plants and animals to human genes, has caused a host of new ethical dilemmas. This paper explores the question of patent law in its complexity. Patent protection has enabled the disproportionate power of biotech corporations in relation to farmers, as evidenced in many lawsuits that the biotech corporations, led by Monsanto, have launched against farmers. Special attention is paid to the court case between Monsanto and Percy Schmeiser, which clearly delineates all the ethical dilemmas that genetic modification technology brings. TRIPS Agreement is an attempt to harmonize the legislation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Member States with the corporations’ needs and desires of protecting patent rights. Terminator technology was created by biotech corporations as a response to patent infringement of their genetically modified seed. By analysing the development of patent protection, this paper indicates the trend of biotech corporations’ domination not only in the market, but also in the structure of the society. The technology of genetic modification, according to the interpretation of several authors, is becoming a new kind of imperialism.

  • Issue Year: 34/2014
  • Issue No: 04/136
  • Page Range: 543-558
  • Page Count: 16