Maria Fonte

Food and Patents

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The global imposition of intellectual property rights to plant genetic resources leads to the corporate appropriation of biodiversity and set in place serious constraints on the free exchange of seeds among farmers and breeders. Seed, and by consequence food, are by consequence entirely commoditized. In this article the story is told of how the patent law has become applicable to living matter and how this institutional change has affected biodiversity, agriculture and food. Finally the social movements are presented who struggle to maintain agriculture free and food and seeds not as simple commodities, but as global common goods.


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