Tensions between knowledge sharing and knowledge appropriation in biomedicine: Public science responses to the patentability of research tools
Title: Tensions between knowledge sharing and knowledge appropriation in biomedicine: Public science responses to the patentability of research tools
Author: JONJIC, Tamara
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 2010
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
The aim of this study is to contribute to the understanding of the institutional realignments in the biomedical innovation system brought about by changes in the intellectual property (IP) regime that enabled the expansion of patent protection to new areas, such as living organisms and basic biological information, and new actors, such as universities and public research institutes. These changes brought about two risks: a weaker dissemination of knowledge due to high access costs to research tools and findings, and the disruption of the norms of openness, traditionally associated with scientific progress. The available empirical studies that attempted to assess the effects of patenting on scientific exchange and on technology transfer often gave inconclusive or inconsistent results, pointing at deeper theoretical and methodological problems. The present study is based on an in-depth analysis of the various IP responses of public research actors in three biomedical fields: genomics, stem cell research and synthetic biology. The study elaborates a typology of public scientists’ IP responses with respect to research tools and traces the main factors behind them. The co-existence of different and often conflicting IP responses shows that public researchers operate in a hybrid institutional system, which forces them to juggle constantly between the rules of the market and the conventions of 'open science'. Although they are often able to do so relatively smoothly, some responses clearly point at problems and dysfunctions in the patent regime. Moreover, they are indicative of some major changes in the innovation system, where new IP practices and growing science and technology interaction profoundly affect science funding policies, firm creation propensity and the organization of R&D across the public and the private sphere.
LC Subject Heading: Medical instruments and apparatus; Medical innovations -- Social aspects
Defense date: 22/06/2010; Examining Board: Rikard Stankiewicz, (University of Lund, formerly EUI) (Supervisor), László Bruszt (EUI), Aldo Genua (University of Torino), Finn Valentin (Copenhagen Business School)
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