Washington International Law Journal


The use of genetic engineering and biotechnology in agriculture has attracted worldwide attention over the past decade. This technology has raised highly controversial issues and considerable international debate over the liabilities associated with crops containing genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”). In particular, the extension of intellectual property protection to GMOs, especially genetically modified crops, has produced one of the most controversial and strenuous debates of recent times. After looking briefly at some of the key features, advantages and disadvantages of GM crops, this paper outlines the debate over the associated legal liability issues. This article also examines the major elements of the debate over liability for GM contamination and assesses whether common law remedies provide adequate protection against it. The paper then details the Australian Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cth) and its essential principles and shortcomings. In its examination of all these issues, this article identifies the challenges that must be faced to ensure justice for all those affected by GM cropping.

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