Press release

Who Benefits from IP Rights for Agricultural Innovation?

The case of Ogura oilseed rape in France. 

Brussels, 19 November 2014 - Today, EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, and CropLife International are launching a new study detailing the socio-economic benefits and value that intellectual property brings in agriculture. The study, conducted by Steward Redqueen, focused on the Ogura hybrid technology developed by the French Public Research Institute INRA.

The results were presented at a policy breakfast event held in the European Parliament with the participation of Mr. Michel Dantin MEP, in the context of the 6th European Innovation Summit. Representatives of the European Patent Office, the European IPR Helpdesk and INRA Transfert, gave their perspectives on how to assess the societal value of intellectual property, a topic that is often perceived as technical and complex, and for which there has been very little data until now.

Ogura, a groundbreaking technology that harnesses new hybridization methods for producing higher-yielding varieties of oilseed rape, and its subsequent developments resulted in a major technological advance for oilseed rape farmers in France which translated in a total benefit of € 1.2 billion to society in France during the patent life of the product. The study shows that 80% of that financial benefit accrued to farmers and further downstream towards processors and consumers.

“This case study clearly shows that Intellectual Property has positive effects for society, creating value to those involved along the chain, from investors to users  in addition to being essential to enable innovation by providing innovators the ability to recoup investments and fund new R&D”, explained Willem Ruster, Strategy Consultant at Steward Redqueen. "The question of intellectual property rights is new to European agriculture and has led to new business models elsewhere. It is therefore important to evaluate the impact this tool can have on the agricultural sector and European consumers, at a time when Europe faces major challenges worldwide such as climate change or demographic growth", said Michel Dantin, Member of the European Parliament.

 “The study is a unique attempt to quantify the impact of innovation in agriculture and to establish a causal link between intellectual property, development costs and socio-economic benefits”, commented Dominic Muyldermans, senior legal consultant at CropLife International. “Companies and public research organisations are focused on finding new solutions to the many challenges of agriculture; it is however up to EU policy-makers to ensure that a sufficient level of protection is guaranteed in order to foster innovation, which then enables farmers around the world and society as a whole to benefit from that innovation”, added Beat Späth, Director, Agricultural Biotechnology Europe. 

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About EuropaBio

EuropaBio is the European Association for Bioindustries, bringing together bioscience companies from all fields of research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products. Its corporate, associate and national association members are involved in research, development, testing, manufacturing and commercialisation of biotechnology products and processes, and have a wide range of activities: human and animal health care, diagnostics, bio-informatics, chemicals, crop protection, agriculture, food and environmental products and services.

About Croplife International

CropLife International is the voice of the global plant science industry. It champions the role of agricultural innovations in crop protection and plant biotechnology in supporting and advancing sustainable agriculture; helping farmers feed a growing population while looking after the planet; and progressing rural communities. The world needs farmers, and farmers need plant science. CropLife International is proud to be at the heart of helping farmers grow.