Intellectual Property and Food
Many foods and food crops are covered by intellectual property rules. Intellectual property laws allow people to protect ideas and inventions by preventing other people from copying, using, imitating, importing, or selling the protected subject matter. These protections come in several different varieties, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights, as well as trade secret protections. These rights provide those who possess them, for a limited time, with exclusive claims that cover inventions, discoveries, or original expressions. Intellectual property protections originally applied primarily to mechanical inventions – new machines for moving stones or weaving cloth. As intellectual property law has grown, it has expanded to new areas, to cover different forms of creativity and different products, including foods, agricultural crops, and even living (nonhuman) animals. At present, US law supports intellectual property protection for...
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