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During the last 20 years, biotechnology has revolutionized agricultural research. The potential, together with a landmark decision by the US Supreme Court to allow the patenting of genetically-engineered organisms has encouraged private sector companies to invest in research programmes.;This has resulted in the growth of a multi-million dollar industry. These changes have influenced the way in which information and materials are exchanged and combined with developments in global agricultural research have resulted in a worldwide need for scientists to be educated in the implications of intellectual property rights.;This text presents information on intellectual property law in a simplified form (with a minimum of legal jargon).;There are two sections. The first begins with an introductory chapter and goes on to consider issues and principles including protection, transference and capacity building, both at the national and institutional level.;The second consists of country and regional case studies from six continents, which track the international variation in intellectual property law and its applications to agricultural biotechnology.;The need for a book was identified during an international training programme run by Michigan State University for scientists from developing countries, in the effective use of biotechnology to enhance plant production.;It should be of value to plant, microbial and animal geneticists and biotechnologists as well as policy makers in both industrialized and developing countries. Intellectual property specialists should also find it useful.