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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.


Amy J. Glass and Fabricio X. Nunez

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


Amy J. Glass and Fabricio X. Nunez Patents are often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about how to protect intellectual property rights and encourage innovation. But policy options exist for stimulating innovation other than lengthening the duration of patents to generate larger rewards. A broader perspective that explores other means of increasing innovation is needed in order for one to know what options are available. This part is organized to encourage discussion of how to stimulate biotechnology innovation by means beyond patent length. Our hope is that these chapters will help encourage thought and study about using less conventional means of boosting innovation. With much attention focused on harmonizing patent length across countries, gains from other policy options could be overlooked. While promoting innovation is a key goal, other objectives such as improving diffusion of technologies and access to new technologies are also important. Using a wider range of instruments achieves a larger number of goals. With more policy levers, a faster rate of innovation could be achieved for any specified level of another goal. Expanded policy options might achieve a better outcome in terms of multiple policy goals. Industries have differing characteristics that influence how best to promote innovation. What stimulates innovation in one industry may have little impact in another. Some industries patent frequently; others almost never. Increasing patent length will not succeed in stimulating innovation in industries that do not patent. A wider mix of policy options may also generate a better distribution...