Pesticides and the Patent Bargain

Cristian Timmermann
University of Chile
In order to enlarge the pool of knowledge available in the public domain, temporary exclusive rights are granted to innovators who are willing to fully disclose the information needed to reproduce their invention. After the 20-year patent protection period elapses, society should be able to make free use of the publicly available knowledge described in the patent document, which is deemed useful. Resistance to pesticides destroys however the usefulness of information listed in patent documents over time. The invention, here pesticides, will have a decreased effectiveness once it enters the public domain. In some cases pesticides lose most of their efficacy shortly after temporary exclusive rights expire. Society’s share of the patent bargain—having new useful knowledge available in the public domain—is lost. Resistance can be slowed down, if pesticide use is limited by optimal compliance. Stimulating proper use is generally not compatible with existing market incentives for patent holders, since these have to be able to maximize profits in order to recoup research and development costs and satisfy obligations to the company’s stakeholders. Another incentive system is needed to ensure longevity of pesticides, which at the same time does not hamper future research
Keywords Pest management  Pesticide effectiveness  Common heritage of humankind  Intellectual property  Social justice
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10806-014-9515-x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,694
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Sharing in or Benefiting From Scientific Advancement?Cristian Timmermann - 2014 - Science and Engineering Ethics 20 (1):111-133.
Rights.Leif Wenar - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Introduction - Intergenerational Justice and Its Challenges.Axel Gosseries & Lukas Meyer - 2009 - In Axel Gosseries & Lukas Meyer (eds.), Intergenerational Justice. Oxford University Press.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Transferring Moral Responsibility for Technological Hazards: The Case of GMOs in Agriculture.Zoë Robaey - 2016 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 29 (5):767-786.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Benefit/Risk Considerations in the Use of Pesticides.Robert L. Metcalf - 1987 - Agriculture and Human Values 4 (4):15-25.
Amounts of Pesticides Reaching Target Pests: Environmental Impacts and Ethics. [REVIEW]David Pimentel - 1995 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 8 (1):17-29.
Liberalism and Intellectual Property Rights.Hugh Breakey - 2009 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 8 (3):329-349.
Patents and Ethics: Is It Possible to Be Balanced?Jacek Spławiński - 2005 - Science and Engineering Ethics 11 (1):71-74.
Ethics and the Patenting of Human Genes.Annabelle Lever - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy, Science and Law 1:31-46.
Patents.Justine Pila - 2009 - In Cane & Conaghan (ed.), The New Oxford Companion to Law.


Added to PP index

Total views
53 ( #155,566 of 2,264,503 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
15 ( #53,762 of 2,264,503 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature