Intellectual Property Policy Reform

Intellectual Property Policy Reform

Fostering Innovation and Development

Edited by Christopher Arup and William van Caenegem

This state-of-the-art study argues that reforms to intellectual property (IP) should be based on the ways IP is interacting with new technologies, business models, work patterns and social mores. It identifies emerging IP reform proposals and experiments, indicating first how more rigor and independence can be built into the grant of IP rights so that genuine innovations are recognized. The original contributions then show how IP rights can be utilised, through open source licensing systems and private transfers, to disseminate knowledge. Reforms are recommended. The discussion takes in patents, copyright, trade secrets and relational obligations, considering the design of legislative directives, default principles, administrative practices, contractual terms and licence specifications.

Chapter 12: Pervasive Incentives, Disparate Innovation and Intellectual Property Law

William van Caenegem

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


William van Caenegem I. INTRODUCTION Current interest in patent policy reaches beyond the academic community, as two recent newspaper articles demonstrate: one concerned how ‘a new technique for creating embryo-free human stem cells sidesteps a controversial US patent that has slowed the pace of scientific discovery worldwide’.1 James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin generated the patent but also the breakthrough which circumvents it. Since another group simultaneously reported the technique no ‘one team can control it’, according to the author. The other article related to the Australian National University (ANU), which was told by the Australian Universities Quality Audit (AUQA) to, ‘better promote the intellectual property attached to its research to raise its profile’.2 AUQA stressed that even if the ANU was not set to make much money from exploiting intellectual property (IP), at least exploitation ‘could raise ANU’s standing in the global community’.3 The first story illustrates that diverse and unpredictable events affect the value of patents. Patenting has created a dense web of rights within which interactions and exchanges occur in a highly complex and contingent manner. Single invention, single patent, single product linear innovation is not the norm. The second story has a now familiar ring to it: patents can play a significant (but unintentional) role in enhancing the value of goodwill or reputation attached to an innovator’s brand. Below the surface, however, lies a meta-tale about patent policy’s constant adaptation and mutation in response to theoretical critiques or uncomfortable empirical data: that patents do not...

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