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Abstract

In 2012, genetically-modified crops reached 170 million hectares around the globe. The ability to patent basic forms of life such as plant properties and the legal history of those intellectual property rights gives biotechnological companies such as Monsanto immense power in the vital agricultural sector. This article outlines the concerns over genetically-modified products and the implications for follow-on advancements within biotechnology by using Monsanto as a case study. The article finds that patent policies similar to those within the United States severely restrict competition and stifle innovation in not only the agricultural sector but also within research and humanitarian projects. To alter the incentive structure created by current plant patent policies, the article evaluates the potential outcomes of patent reform within the agricultural sector.