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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.


Abdallah S. Daar and David Castle

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


Abdallah S. Daar and David Castle Researchers studying the role of intellectual property rights in innovation systems often come to the issue as if it were a found object that needs to be broken into its constituent parts and reassembled to understand it. One can have sympathy for this situation. The role of IPRs in innovation is so complex that organizing one’s thoughts about the subject often means peeling away many layers of distracting information and, one hopes, ultimately getting to the heart of the matter. The problem with any kind of analytical approach to a complex topic is that conceptual rigor sometimes can displace from attention the historical context in which complex systems like intellectual property arise. The downside of analysis is forgetting the past. Of course, it is understandable if the needs of today focus attention on the role of IPRs on their contemporary manifestation. But there is a risk of forgetting that IPRs have country-specific histories that significantly determine contemporary policies and practices. For this reason, the final part in this book is dedicated to three studies in which the historical development and national setting of IPRs are considered. The chapter by Ian Inkster provides a magisterial overview of historical data examining the nexus between IP and innovation. The chapter by Richard Boadi looks specifically at IP and technology transfer in agricultural biotechnology, asking whether IPRs and technology transfer help to energize innovation in the developing world and, if so, are there any lessons to be learnt...