Patents versus patenting: implications of intellectual property protection for biological research

Zhen Lei and Brian D. Wright are in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 207 Giannini Hall, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
Nature Biotechnology (Impact Factor: 39.08). 02/2009; 27(1):36-40. DOI: 10.1038/nbt0109-36
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A new survey shows scientists consider the proliferation of intellectual property protection to have a strongly negative effect on research.

Download full-text


Available from: Brian Davern Wright, Jul 07, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Neoliberalism is the political ideology behind efforts to commercialize university science. The development of genetically engineered (GE) crops has facilitated the commercialization process because GE crops generally have more restrictive intellectual property protections than conventional crops. Those restrictions have led some to question whether long-term university research and innovations are being compromised to protect short-term intellectual property interests. This concern is evident in two letters submitted by public-sector entomologists in February 2009 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The letters asserted that scientists are prohibited from conducting fully independent research on the efficacy and environmental impact of GE crops. In response to the letter, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) negotiated an agreement between university scientists and seed companies to protect industry property rights while enabling university scientists to conduct research with more independence. Through a survey of public- and private-sector entomologists who are members of two regional entomologist research groups, we document scientists' perspectives on the adequacy of the ASTA agreement and whether those scientists have experienced limitations on their research projects involving efficacy and environmental impacts. Our findings show that limitations exist and that certain forms of public knowledge about crops are likely being compromised. These findings have implications for the legitimacy of current risk management institutions, as well as for future technological breakthroughs and innovations.
    Rural Sociology 02/2015; 80(2). DOI:10.1111/ruso.12062 · 1.89 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Focused on the impact of stringent intellectual property mechanisms over the uses of plant agricultural biodiversity in crop improvement, the article delves into a systematic analysis of the relationship between institutional paradigms and their technological contexts of application, identified as mass selection, controlled hybridisation, molecular breeding tools and transgenics. While the strong property paradigm has proven effective in the context of major leaps forward in genetic engineering, it faces a systematic breakdown when extended to mass selection, where innovation often displays a collective nature. However, it also creates partial blockages in those innovation schemes rested between on-farm observation and genetic modification, i.e. conventional plant breeding and upstream molecular biology research tools. Neither overly strong intellectual property rights, nor the absence of well delineated protection have proven an optimal fit for these two intermediary socio-technological systems of cumulative incremental innovation. To address these challenges, the authors look at appropriate institutional alternatives which can create effective incentives for in situ agrobiodiversity conservation and the equitable distribution of technologies in plant improvement, using the flexibilities of the TRIPS Agreement, the liability rules set forth in patents or plant variety rights themselves (in the form of farmers’, breeders’ and research exceptions), and other ad hoc reward regimes.
    06/2014; 10(14):29pp. DOI:10.1186/s40504-014-0014-7
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study examines the sharing of research tools among academic scientists in the life sciences and materials sciences in Japan. First, this study investigates material transfer, or the sharing of research tools, based on individual-level negotiation. Statistical analyses suggest that supplier-side scientists decide whether or not to fulfill requests for material transfer on the basis of: expected return from consumer-side scientists (e.g., co-authorship), previous collaborative relationships, and the likelihood of scientific competition. Although studies in the US have indicated that the trend of academic capitalism or commercialization deters material transfer, our results show limited negative impact in this regard. Second, this study examines the use of central repositories of research tools as a means to the wider dissemination of such tools. The results suggest that entrepreneurial scientists and scientists in public research organizations are more willing to provide their research tools through this publicly accessible system. Copyright , Beech Tree Publishing.
    Science and Public Policy 10/2011; 38(8). DOI:10.3152/030234211X13122939587699 · 0.98 Impact Factor