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Corporate Plant Breeders and Indigenous Farmers’ Rights: Linnaeus Overrides the F.A.O.

Nehaluddin Ahmad, Gary Lilienthal, Paul Hodgkinson
Keywords: UPOV 1991, corporate plant breeders, biodiversity, Hohfeld on rights, the craft of deception, FAO rights, Linnaeus

The Malaysian Government has been advised not to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of 1991 (UPOV 1991), which favours developed countries’ corporate plant breeders, at the expense of Malaysian biodiversity and the country’s small farmers. The article examines critically the rights being manipulated within the underlying legal norms of statutory plant breeders’ rights, with resort to Hohfeld’s three elements of rights. The question is whether changing the name of a species of plant, after removing the plant from its native habitat, for trade purposes, could effectively extinguish farmers’ rights. Plants and seeds have been removed from their natural habitats, then renamed, violating farmers’ rights and misrepresenting them as crops owned by industrial farming interests. Malaysian rubber plants and seeds have been removed by deception from their natural indigenous habitats in Brazil, violating both farmers’ claimed, articulated and enforced customary and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) rights, and then misrepresented as crops owned by the industrial farming interests of Europe. This system was legitimated in the self-deified and ennobled professional Botanist Linnaeus.
Keywords: UPOV 1991; corporate plant breeders; biodiversity; Hohfeld on rights; the craft of deception; FAO rights; Linnaeus.

Prof. Dr. Nehaluddin Ahmad, MA, LL.B., LL.M. (Luck. India) LL.M. (Strathclyde, UK), LL.D. (Meerut University, India) is a Professor at the School of Law, Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University (UNISSA), Brunei Darussalam. For correspondence: <>; Prof. Dr. Gary Lilienthal, Dip. Counselling, (A.I.P.C.), LL.B., (Sydney University, Australia), Grad. Dip. Legal Pract., (College of Law, Sydney), M. Psychoanalytic Studs., (Deakin University, Australia), Ph.D., (Law) (Curtin University, Australia) is a Professor of Law at the School of Law, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia. For correspondence: <>; Paul Hodgkinson, B.AppSc. (Agric), Charles Sturt University (Australia), is The King George III Fellow in Botanical Archives, Carrington Rand, Canberra, Australia. For correspondence: <>.


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