Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Meetali Jain


As a signatory to the global Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights treaty (TRIPS), India is obligated to develop national legislation that conforms to the international standards of intellectual property rights protection by January 1, 2000. India now faces the option of either acceding to the requirements of TRIPS or accepting various penalties, including sanctions, from the international community.

This Note focuses on the protection of one type of property, namely plant genetic resources. The case of India provides fertile ground for an examination of the clash between notions of global intellectual property rights and notions of national and local sovereignty over resources. As a large geopolitical power with enormous unrealized economic potential, India may act as an example for other developing countries. Many governments now recognize that genetic resources will be a key resource in the twenty-first century; the government of India itself has declared the issue of biotechnology development to be among the most important in its development.