Cellular Agriculture and Intellectual Property

Mariela de Amstalden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Intellectual Property (IP) rights have been inextricably intertwined with the emergence of transformative technologies as means to reward intellectual creation since the beginning of human ingenuity. Cell-cultivation technology to produce food for human consumption is no exception. From trade secrets to patents and trademarks, the production of food for human consumption using cell-cultivation technology confronts innovators, manufacturers, regulators and consumers with an array of challenges. What we understand as IP, and how we engage with it, will shape the contours of academic discourse, public policy debates and entrepreneurial success. Confronting IP law at a multiplicity of levels, cellular agriculture as an emerging field of enquiry appears to challenge Lockean approaches to IP as a legal monopoly, questioning their limits to promote social progress. This chapter explores IP rights in cellular agriculture to elucidate the extent to which they are deployed to generate optimal public welfare. The central tenet of the proposition in this chapter, that ‘open science’ may be a critical element in a flourishing innovation ecosystem, reflects on the significance of calibrating IP rights to display societal benefits, and on the potential to construe cell-cultivation technology as a ‘technology of abundance’. Here, the argument is not that IP rights necessarily have to be operationalised as scarce resources to enable innovation. Rather, this long-held presumption of exhaustion is explored through a public interest lens, contending that IP law has the ability to invigorate multiple tonalities in new global economic governance mechanisms, while being mindful of, and in fact amplify, a variety of seemingly unrelated elements uniting to address complex social challenges. It also offers reflections on reconciling diverging jurisdictional approaches to regulating IP that takes account of emerging legal risks in a post-scarcity economy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCellular Agriculture
Subtitle of host publicationTechnical and Scientific Foundations
EditorsEvan Fraser, David kaplan , Lenore Newman, Ricky Yada
ISBN (Print)9780443187674
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Not yet published as of 23/06/2023. Expected publication date: 01/01/2024.


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