The Role of Patents in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries
New Horizons in Intellectual Property series
Preface and Acknowledgments
Patents played, and may be still playing, an indispensable role in promoting innovation in developed countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Japan. Yet they have become a target of increasing criticism in these countries for blocking innovation and access to medicine due to broad, extended and overlapping protection. What role, then, do patents play in China, the world's largest developing country with a relatively high technological capacity but still in transition from imitation to innovation? How can China use patents to stimulate innovation while avoiding adverse effects that they have had in developed countries? Those issues are the focus of this book as it explores China's biotechnology and pharmaceutical patenting. Seven years ago when I started this project, I had a rather simple goal in mind, that is, to ascertain how China's patent law governs biotechnology and pharmaceutical inventions. I planned to focus on legislation only, to compare Chinese law on biotechnology and pharmaceutical patenting with the laws of other countries. However, as the research progressed I became less satisfied than 1 had been with the existing literature and my original goal. 1 found that analyzing law without understanding the industries and technology that it governs is like building a skyscraper on sand. My research therefore expanded to include industries, markets and R&D capacity, all of which proved more challenging than I expected. There is a sea of materials and statistics that lack authority and consistency, in need of constant verification and updating. Understanding...