Innovation and Technology Transfer Among Firms in the Agricultural Input Sector
Firms in the agricultural biotech and seed sectors have increased their R&D spending exponentially over the last three decades. The number of patents secured by major integrated biotechnology and seed firms also increased exponentially over this period. We find no evidence of strategic patenting to explain the increase in volume; the increased number of granted patents, therefore, most likely indicates accelerating product innovation in the industry. Technology transfer among private firms in this sector has been increasing as well, as reflected in a large number of licensing and cross-licensing agreements for the commercialization of patented biotech traits and seed germplasm across different suppliers. New product introductions and variety (new biotech traits and hybrids) increased significantly over the last two decades, while the average product life cycle of hybrid seeds declined. All these indicators point to accelerating product innovation and augmented product choices in this market segment.
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