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Biodiversity and the Concept of Farmers' Rights in International Law

Factual Background and Legal Analysis


Martin A. Girsberger

This doctoral thesis analyzes the concept of the so-called Farmers' Rights. The first part presents an extensive description of the factual background of Farmers' Rights. The topics dealt with include an introduction to agriculture, plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, indigenous knowledge and the effects of modern biotechnology. The second part examines the applicability of the existing forms of intellectual property rights (geographical indications, patents, trade secrets and plant breeders' rights) to traditional PGRFA and related know-how. The author concludes that these forms of intangibles are, for various reasons, not capable of protection by existing forms of intellectual property rights. The third part contains the legal analysis of the concept of Farmers' Rights. For this legal analysis, the large number of problems that arise when realizing Farmers' Rights are grouped into four main sections. Based on this legal analysis, the author makes a proposal for the realization of Farmers' Rights. The practicability and the (financial) effectiveness of the proposed solution is of major concern.
Contents: This study provides an extensive factual background of Farmers' Rights, describes the current legal environment, analyzes the concept of Farmers' Rights and makes a proposal for the realization of these rights.