Patent Pledges
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Patent Pledges

Global Perspectives on Patent Law’s Private Ordering Frontier

Edited by Jorge L. Contreras and Meredith Jacob

Patent holders are increasingly making voluntary, public commitments to limit the enforcement and other exploitation of their patents. The best-known form of patent pledge is the so-called FRAND commitment, in which a patent holder commits to license patents to manufacturers of standardized products on terms that are “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory.” Patent pledges have also been appearing in fields well beyond technical standard-setting, including open source software, green technology and the biosciences. This book explores the motivations, legal characteristics and policy goals of these increasingly popular private ordering tools.
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Chapter 3: Patent sharing in biotechnology

Dov Greenbaum


More than half a decade ago, Sir Andrew Witty, the CEO of multinational life sciences company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), sketched out his vision for GSK which prominently included an Open Innovation Policy; for example, patent pooling in the area of diseases of developing nations—particularly neglected tropical diseases—as well as sharing non-patented technology, know-how and lead technologies. While some new research is conceivably supportive of Witty’s efforts, the idea that standard efforts of rival exclusion as epitomized by the assertion of patent rights may not be the only or even optimal way of leading to innovation has yet to find broad appeal in the industry. Many biotechnology companies, perhaps given the potential for large payoffs, persist in strongly asserting their intellectual property rights against their competitors.

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