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.

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    ABSTRACT: Survey data from over 3,000 academic scientists show that nearly half of these scientists report that their choice of research projects has been affected (to some degree) by the presence of third-party patents. Our evidence suggests that the operation of this patent-induced effect is through (i) restrictions patent owners place on the timing of follow-on publications and (ii) disincentives for open exchange of information between scientists. While the need to translate science into commercial use is potentially a valuable source of productivity growth, this should be balanced against the need for openness and information sharing in the scientific realm.
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    Nature Biotechnology 11/2013; 31(11):986-8. · 39.08 Impact Factor
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    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.
    Life Sciences, Society and Policy. 06/2014; 10(14):29pp.

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