New analysis on UPOV report on the impact of plant variety protection

In 2006 UPOV published a report that aims to assess the impact of plant variety protection (PVP) in line with the UPOV Convention. Up to now, this report has often been used to legitimize the introduction of laws on plant variety protection in line with the 1991 Act of the Convention. In the following comment, we analyse the methodology of the UPOV’s impact assessment by pointing out its underlying assumptions, and by discussing the defined scope, the chosen indicators and the missing counterfactual. We conclude that the impact study made by UPOV does not fulfil certain basic requirements. It leaves unanswered the question whether the UPOV Conventions do or do not have positive impacts – in a broader sense – on the countries that have adopted them. The UPOV report used narrowly drafted indicators, without taking into account key issues like food security, agro-biodiversity, availability of seeds for small farmers, or defining what “for the benefit of society” is supposed to mean. Therefore, it does not provide a reliable basis for decision-making for countries that may be considering joining UPOV 1991. We will start with a
brief summary of the report’s conclusions.