January 21, 2020


Japan proposes intellectual property protection for its wagyu beef cattle eggs and sperm


The country's farm ministry proposed legalisation to guard intellectual property of its wagyu beef cattle fertilised eggs and sperm with increased fears of breeding efforts overseas, reported Kyodo News.


The new law would restrict illegal trading, production and export of wagyu beef cattle eggs and sperm, and punish business owners and third parties who attain and trade wagyu beef cattle eggs and sperm without following mandatory processes.


The proposal comes after a failed plan to smuggle fertilised wagyu beef cattle eggs and sperm to China in 2018.


The Japanese government is keen to protect its prized wagyu beef cattle production and is looking to propose measures to stop foreign production of the livestock, which has been bred through years by domestic farmers through selective breeding.


There are no laws currently that restrict the trade of wagyu beef cattle genetics to overseas.


Once the new law has been approved, an injunction can be imposed on suspected wagyu beef cattle genetic materials for breeding after export. A standard parameter for calculating damages awarded when a breach is discovered will also be set.


The Japan government set measures against smuggling wagyu beef cattle eggs and sperm in June 2018, which include mandatory trade record keeping of wagyu beef cattle genetic materials.


-      Kyodo News