Filomeno Felipe Amin - Monsanto and intellectual property in South America

Author : Filomeno Felipe Amin
Title : Monsanto and intellectual property in South America
Year : 2014

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Introduction. For most of human history, knowledge created by man was treated either as communal property or as pertaining to the public domain. As communal property, it is understood as traditional knowledge passed over through generations of a regional, indigenous or local community distinct from the state and from private actors. When in the public domain, human knowledge is embedded in activities, assets and institutions that are not objects of property rights and, therefore, belong to the public as a whole. Increasingly, however, the creation, use and distribution of human knowledge have been governed by private intellectual property (IP) rights established by the state. These are legal rights that assign individual actors with some degree of exclusivity over creations of the mind. Since the establishment of private IP, knowledge that is communal or is in the public domain has been encroached by the price mechanism of the market and/or by the regulatory power of the state.1 The implications are enormous because the creation, use and distribution of knowledge are pervasive aspects of human life. Private IP rights can encourage the production and disclosure of new knowledge but they also set limits on its diffusion throughout society, affecting how people have access to knowledge-intensive goods such as medicines, seeds and books. ...

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