How is the transformation of IP affecting the agricultural sector?

5 Feb 2018

TC Beirne School of Law's Dr Susannah Chapman has been successful in securing a 2018 University of Queensland Development Fellowship for her project to explore the transformation of intellectual property (IP) and the effects on the Australian agricultural sector. 

Dr Chapman said the challenges of enforcing IP rights over protected biological materials had led agricultural industries in Australia to implement a new system for the collection of royalties on harvested material.

"This system solved several dilemmas of previous royalty arrangements, but it created new challenges in regulating the circulation of IP-protected materials," she said.  

"My research explores the mechanisms used to regulate the circulation of protected materials under this new system. In tracking these shifts, it furthers scholarship on the transformation of IP and how such transformations affect access to and control over IP-protected biological materials for IP owners, farmers, breeders, and others in the agricultural sector."

Susannah Chapman
Dr Susannah Chapman at UQ

Outcomes of this project will inform the development of end point royalties in Australia and could contribute to the implementation of IP law beyond Australia, in particularly in places where requirements to meet IP obligations under international agreements are met with concerns about the extent to which IP law can negatively impact food security by hindering farmers’ access to seed of protected plant varieties.

The project is titled, Circulation in the Realm of Intangible Property: The development of end-point royalties in Australian agriculture and the transformation of intellectual property.