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IPDEV — Result In Brief

Project ID: 503613
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES

Safeguarding Europe's agricultural uniqueness

The food and agro-industries in Europe can become more competitive if they focus on and protect their uniqueness in relation to local products and biodiversity.
Safeguarding Europe's agricultural uniqueness
Intellectual property rights (IPR) include patents, trademarks and copyrights that represent exclusive rights of people or businesses under the law. They are an integral part of fostering growth, innovation and competitiveness in the EU, and can be applied smartly to the agro-food sector.

The EU-funded project 'The impacts of the rules IPR rules on sustainable development' (IPDEV) investigated the impact of these rules on economic growth, investment, environmental protection, biodiversity, social considerations and rural development. The project revealed important conclusions, such as the rapidly changing political and economic environment linked to agriculture in the EU. It highlighted the obsolescence of food self-reliance concepts in a globalised world, the challenges linked to agricultural subsidies and the need to upgrade environmental requirements in agriculture.

IPDEV also looked at the downside of industrialised agriculture (mad cow disease, for example), depopulation of rural areas, disappearance of small-scale agriculture and other major challenges. In addition, the project examined Europe's waning competitiveness in agriculture compared to North America and developing countries, studying the production of biofuel as an alternative.

In concluding its project, IPDEV recommended building the EU's strength on specialised products such as organic farming and products supported by geographical indicators (GIs). The latter involves fostering competitiveness based on price premiums for unique and traditional local products to maintain market viability and differentiation. In summary, GI protection for products, that is producing and selling strictly defined and/or certified products supported by IPR, may represent the key to enhancing competitiveness of the EU market.

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