Biosafety and IPR issues in biotechnology research
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11-02-2010, 07:41 PM
Intellectual property rights â€œ the manner in which they are recognised, traded and managed, nationally as well as globally will profoundly impact the bioeconomy. intellectual property increasingly constitutes the terrain upon which disputes over
North-South inequalities are waged.
The assumption that intellectual property rights generally, and patent rights in particular, are crucial if not
absolutely necessary to foster innovation is deeply engrained in governmental policy making and judicial
reasoning in many developed countries. patents on initial innovations may deter later discoveries that build
on patented innovations. innovation is driven by many
factors (including access to capital, access to skilled managers, first mover advantage, curiosity and the like. industry rarely relies solely on a single patent to secure its inventions the markets for different products and
knowledge assets differ significantly from one another while patent law
takes a one-size-fits-all approach to innovation.
All of these intellectual property management mechanisms make it difficult to single out the effects of patents on innovation.
Nature of the innovation
The dominant logic for granting IP rights is to incentivise creativity and
innovation. Innovation can occur without IP rights, and not simply because of non-economic motives to invent or governmental subsidies.Early studies of health-related biotechnological products reported significantly lower attrition rates and
clinical development times. But recent syudies show that R&D and regulatory costs may be very similar to the pharmaceutical sector.
Transplanting IP to developing countries
IP rights, as incentives, fail in two key respects. First, they fail to provide sufficient incentive to develop products that are particular to many developing countries. Second, IP rights fail to incentivise the optimisation of existing products and devices for delivery and use in developing country settings.
Potential remedial mechanisms
1)Evolving best practices for patenting and licensing biotechnological inventions
The NIH issued a set of principles and guidelines for the sharing of biomedical research tools the following
year, in which it stated that recipients of its funds are expected to ensure that unique research resources
are made available to the scientific research community. These Best Practises include many recommendations similar to those for research tools,
including that institutions only seek patent protection on genomic inventions generated using federal funds
where it considers that significant further research and development is required by the private sector to
bring the invention to practical and commercial application, and that, where possible, non-exclusive
licences should be pursued as a best practice.
2)Co-operative strategies: Using the public domain, patent pooling, and open source:
do not impede research or decrease affordability of
downstream products is to dedicate patentable information or technologies to the public domain.The individual
researchers and their parent institutions are, to some extent, free to dedicate their inventions to the public
domain on a case-by-case basis.
3)Paying patent rents for developing country population
The buying out of patent rights in order to make essential medicines or devices available to countries that could not otherwise afford the developing countries.
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