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Human Rights, Technology, and Food

Bird, Robert C. and Cahoy, Daniel R., Human Rights, Technology, and Food: Coordinating Access and Innovation for 2050 and Beyond (March 29, 2014). Available at SSRN:

“The purpose of this article is to suggest a path to alleviating the enduring tension between the right to food and intellectual property rights holders, particularly patent holders, of food-related technologies. After examining the role of technology in relieving the increasing demographic pressure for food, this manuscript explores how the dependence on technology for food solutions can cause a collision with barriers of intellectual property rights. The manuscript then examines how the protect, respect, and remedy framework,developed and introduced by U.N. Special Representative John Ruggie, can be used as an important tool to manage the innovation-access dilemma. The framework can stimulate coordination and innovation between interests in food access and the need for food innovation through rights holders. Policy recommendations are also presented to further encourage a reconciliation between food access and intellectual property regimes.”

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