The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Biotechnology Innovation
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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.
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Chapter 1: Are Intellectual Property Rights Quanta of Innovation?

J. Adam Holbrook


J. Adam Holbrook INTRODUCTION Policy makers in all levels of government are searching for means of understanding the role of innovation in the development of modern societies and for frameworks upon which they can construct their policies. In general, they are seeking economic frameworks; rarely do they use innovation policies as a lever to develop social policies. The reverse is not uncommon: education policies are sometimes used to foster a climate of innovation. The problem is simply that most analysts do not differentiate between innovation in general, a process that produces new ideas and intellectual property rights (IPRs), and specific innovations which can best be described through IPRs. Frequently policy makers start with the work of Josef Schumpeter (1961) who identified five forms of innovation: new products, new processes, new markets, new resources, new organizations. This categorization of innovations examined the economic effects of specific innovations, not the process itself. Thus there are clearly policies and programs in the economic field that can be used to stimulate Schumpeterian innovation. Even so, in policy terms, the concept of innovation is usually confined to that of technological innovation, as defined by the OECD in the Oslo Manual: Technological Product and Process (TPP) Innovations comprise implemented technologically new products and processes and significant technological improvements in products and processes. A TPP innovation has been implemented if it has been introduced on the market (product innovation) or used within a production process (process innovation) [OECD 1997, sec. 15]. This, of course, is a narrower...

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