Hiroshima Peace Science Volume 26
2004 発行

遺伝子組換え作物をめぐる生命特許と農民特権 : シュマイザー・モンサント事件を中心に

GMO conflict between patent protection and farmers' privilege : A Schmeiser v. Monsanto case
Hiraki, Takayuki
In the 1990s, genetically modified (GM) crops have rapidly gained favor with farmers and increased in market share. GM crops are different from natural ones in that they are manufactured, not plants naturally grown. This aspect is very significant when we discuss the patentability of GM crops. The multinationals developing GM seeds have claimed patent protection for their “inventions" and the governments in the USA and Canada have concluded that GM crops are not the “discovery" of genes resulting from a law of nature. In other words, GM crops can be patentable as long as they can be approved as inventions with novelty and usefulness. In the meantime, the multinationals require the farmers who purchase the patented GM seeds to sign the Technology Use Agreement (TUA) under which the farmers are not allowed to save, replant, transfer and sell them. However, the “farmers' privilege" provided in the UPOV conventions has traditionally granted the farmers the right to save, replant, transfer and sell the seeds obtained from their own property. The main focus of this paper is on the conflict over the patentability of GMOs in terms of the protection of farmers' privilege. This paper considers the fact that the multinationals' TUA restrict farmers' privilege by referring to the first lawsuit in which Monsanto Co. sued Mr. Schmeiser, a Canadian farmer, against the patent rights for GM canola. In this lawsuit, Monsanto claimed that Mr. Schmeiser illegally saved and sold the GM canola seeds without signing the TUA with Monsanto, although Mr. Schmeiser claimed that the GM canola he used were grown naturally on his holdings because of wind or pollination. The conclusion is that the multinationals will restrict framers' privilege and strengthen their control over the property rights for genetic resources by making use of patent protection and its resulting TUA. Thus, this paper stresses that the soundness of life patent should be discussed based not only on ethical aspects, but on the structure of resource