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Law in Context

Abstract from Volume 24 No 1 (2006) Patent Law and Biological Inventions

Cooperative Strategies for Facilitating Use of Patented Inventions in Biotechnology

Dianne Nicol is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Law and Genetics, Law Faculty, the University of Tasmania.
Janet Hope is a research fellow in the Centre for the Governance of Knowledge and Development at the Regulatory Institutions Network (Regnet) in the Australian National University.

The relationship between owners and users of patented inventions in biotechnology is complex, and current technology transfer strategies may not achieve the most desirable outcome in terms of promoting innovation in this area. There are some proposals for reforming the law to provide better outcomes, particularly the creation of a clear experi­mental use exemption. However, this article proposes that the patent owners’ repertoire should be expanded to include industry-driven mechanisms that may be more finely tuned to the needs of particular industry participants or groups of participants. The discussion starts with patent pooling, but focuses on clearing house mechanisms and open source licensing. The article concludes that, although there have been isolated attempts to implement some of these strategies, for the most part, there is little evidence that the industry as a whole is motivated to take them up. More research needs to be done to determine whether biotechnology industry would benefit from adopting any of these strategies.

(2006) Volume 24 No1 Law in Context 85

   
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