Scientists at leading US agricultural research universities say they are banding together to insure their right to share information from new breakthroughs on their patented technologies. The newly created group, Public-Sector Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA), wants licensing agreements to permit academic researchers to make findings available to others who are working to create and improve crops for both the developing world and the domestic market.

"It may not be possible to go back and undo exclusive licensing, but certainly going forward if we license more wisely, we should be able to license to big companies for what they want—corn, soybeans, and cotton—and not for the developing country crops that are likely to be the responsibility of the public sector," said Gary Toenniessen, director of Food Security at the Rockefeller Foundation.

For the past 20 years, said Toenniessen, the Rockefeller Foundation has been investing in research on crops considered...

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