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  • Community Manager's picture
    Community Manager
    Thanks for the great input on this topic. This question is now under review by one of our experts. The comments section will reopen once the response is posted. .
  • WheatLover's picture
    On the part of your concern that large seed companies are conducting business practices to establish monopolies, I suggest that you study U.S. antitrust laws. Here is a good place to start.


    When studying the antitrust laws, keep in mind that the laws are designed to protect the consumer from the high prices that could result from a monopoly, not to protect other businesses.
  • marcel poppe's picture
    marcel poppe
    This is in the first place going about the monopoly position that is created through patents and in is this specific case on food crops and seeds of food crops. Finally it concerns the base of our foodproduction in general. Unfortunately small seed breeders are bought up by wealthy multinationals or forced out of the market so that farmers get less and less choices. On top of this patentholders can refuse a license or ask a price that small seed breeders can't afford. In this way they reinforce their already predominating market position. The difference between patents on computer parts, machine parts and pharmaceuticals and patents on food crops and seeds is that food is a human right. A comparison between computer parts, machinen parts and seeds and food crops is then not correct and of a different order. Phamaceuticals are also part of human rights and patents on these are for sure questionable. Therefore it is important to discuss this topic.
  • WheatLover's picture
    In addition to what WillingToListen said, patents help ensure a return on investment (ROI) to the creators of new products. Developing/innovating a new product is not a cheap process and without a patent to protect them a competitor could come along, study the product, then produce an exact duplicate that they could bring to market for 1/3rd the cost it took the original company to develop it. At that point not only can the competitor produce an identical product, but they can bring it to market at a reduced price, and when quality is equal people will always buy the cheaper product. And if the original producer can't make a profit off their product, why bother spending the resources to develop it in the first place? That's why patents are good for free market economies, they help to promote innovation by securing the inventor's profit from the sale of their design.

    There is some flexibility in patent laws that allows for competitors to produce similar (but not identical) products, but this is again good for free market economies because this encourages competition, thus giving the consumer a choice about which product to buy.
  • WillingToListen's picture
    But farmers don't have to buy GMO seed, right? They can buy traditional seeds all they want (which I believe are also made by the seed companies). And patents only last so long, after that they are fair game. Should we just get rid of the patent system? Why is this different than patenting computer parts, machine parts or pharmaceuticals?