Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Peter Straub


Patented gene-modified crop seeds have a growing impact on how farming is done in the countries where they are sold and used. Modem patent regimes make all plants and plant material containing modified gene-material subject to the intellectual property rights of transnational corporations. Farmers are then faced with the choice of either entering into licensing agreements, or becoming patent infringers-with all the legal consequences-by marketing the fruits of their labor. This article examines how socioeconomic rights-especially the right to food as defined by Article 11.2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)-of small-hold subsistence farmers in developing countries are, or might be, affected by this development.