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Under the TRIPs Agreement , all member-countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required to provide an "effective" system of plant variety protection (PVP) within a specific time frame. In many developing countries this has led to a divisive debate about the fundamental desirability of extending intellectual property rights (IPRs) to agriculture. But empirical studies on the economic impacts of PVP, especially its ability to generate large private sector investments in plant breeding and facilitate the transfer of technology, have been very limited. This paper examines two aspects of the international experience of PVP legislation thus far (i) The relationship between R&D expenditures and PVP grants and (ii) The role of PVP in facilitating the flow of varieties across countries. This analysis can generate useful insights for policy makers in developing countries currently contemplating PVP legislation.


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