Achievements and New Perspectives
Edited by Christophe Geiger
Chapter 10: Smart innovation and inclusive patents for sustainable food and health care: Redefining the Europe 2020 objectives
‘May you live in interesting times’. This phrase is reputed to be the English translation of an ancient Chinese curse.# Gazing around in the intricate world of patents and biotechnology, it seems that patents hold great promise, but may appear as a curse as well. Patents may well fuel the development of the most fascinating and ‘smart’ innovations in the field of life sciences: re-engineered micro-organisms producing medicines, re-constructed plants killing insects, re-modeled animals delivering human hormones, harvested human stem cells repairing human body parts, just to name a few. But patents may also have some unintended, over-exclusive (‘under-inclusive’) consequences and hinder access and further research and development in the area of biotechnology: 25% of the human genome is said to be patented at present, truly complicating access and freedom to operate in health care and possibly compromising ‘sustainable’ welfare for all.
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