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The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Biotechnology Innovation

The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Biotechnology Innovation

Edited by David Castle

Intellectual property rights (IPRs), particularly patents, occupy a prominent position in innovation systems, but to what extent they support or hinder innovation is widely disputed. Through the lens of biotechnology, this book delves deeply into the main issues at the crossroads of innovation and IPRs to evaluate claims of the positive and negative impacts of IPRs on innovation.


David Castle

Subjects: environment, biotechnology, innovation and technology, biotechnology, law - academic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical law, intellectual property law


David Castle It has become common parlance to describe innovation as taking place within a system. That is to say, innovation is thought to be a product of a system of integrated causes and effects, and the right way to analyse innovation is by thinking about a system. Gone from informed discourse about innovation is the caricature of the linear chain of events starting with the scientist-recluse and ending with with the monopolizing capitalist. The more sophisticated view of innovation systems does not, however, mean that we have answered all of the questions about how innovation works. Far from it in fact, as the chapters in this part reveal. Take, for example, the point that if innovation is a system-level phenomenon, it would be useful to know exactly how intellectual property rights contribute to the system. Yet as the contributions in this part point out, this question is not normally taken up directly, or at least not until now. Each of the chapters in this part finds its own way to this question, a fact which illustrates that IPRs play multiple roles in innovation systems, each of which can serve as an analytical starting point. In the first chapter, IPRs are the ‘quanta’ for the valuation of inventions, in the second chapter IPRs are policy tools for national and regional innovation system management, and in the third chapter IPRs are the source of tension about access to research tools and the impact on the development of genetic diagnostics and therapeutics....