IP Policies, Practices and Implications

In this section we present discussions on some general and specific implications of patent policies and practices. The impact of intellectual property policies and patent and plant variety law on research, development, and trade is fraught with confusion and uncertainty. In the software industry there is frequent reference to the paralyzing influence of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (Patent FUD). CAMBIA’s Patent Lens seeks to dispel Patent FUD; We hope that the papers posted here will enlighten the reader and stimulate further thought and action.

  • Trends in Searching Technologies used to Identify Intellectual Property [PDF]
    This two-part paper was developed in a consultancy for IP Australia, but has been expanded to make it relevant for all jurisdictions. We analyse the technical trends in search and character recognition software and how these interact with the needs of innovators. Innovation is better enabled if the information that government patent offices provide is clear and readily searchable.  Fee-charging patent search services may not provide the best information.
  • Fostering Democratic Innovation as a Means of Reducing the 10/90 Gap in Health [PDF]
    Chronic undernourishment is a more significant global health problem than any single disease, and many diseases are more readily spread and have worse effects in malnourished communities. These communities comprise creative and committed people capable of arriving at locally sensible solutions to many food security challenges if ways to overcome barriers to innovation are provided. This paper shows that intellectual property often incentivises the parts of the innovation chain far upstream and present barriers to downstream implementation for improvements to food security and public health. Read the accompanying presentation from the conference.
  • Intellectual Property and Promoting R&D for the Public Interest in the Asian Region: Inclusionary and Distributive Innovation System Options [PDF]
    Pollution and malnourishment often arise from distortions in the use of natural resources that may be linked to or even driven by barriers to local innovation. This paper, presented at the UNCTAD/ICTSD Regional Dialogue on “Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), Innovation and Sustainable Development” in the People’s Republic of China, describes the ideas behind the BioForge collaborative innovation initiative.  Also, individual countries may benefit innovators by providing clear and transparent information on patents filed and issued, and information on innovations of others that may be unconstrained in many Asian countries.
  • Accessing other people’s technology for non-profit research [PDF]
    Freedom-to-operate in non-profit research, especially in light of the continuing push of that research to commercial development, is a critical and difficult issue to approach. Although in a few countries there is a formal “research exemption”, it is not as broadly available as many think, and can actually be counter-productive to innovation leading to delivery of commercial products or public goods.  The authors present what patent holders are doing about unauthorised use of their inventions in non-profit organisations, along with a view of what the future may bring.
  • South-North trade, intellectual property jurisdictions, and freedom to operate in agricultural research on staple crops [PDF]
    This paper explores the impact of patents on agricultural trade from developing countries to countries where patents are prevalent, such as the United States and Europe. For the fraction of crops grown in developing countries that are exported to developed countries, the current plethora of patents affects the developing world.
  • Intellectual property rights and access to agricultural biotechnology by developing countries [PDF]
    Access to technology and the related intellectual property rights (IPR) is affected by both the increased availability of scientific information, and worldwide tightening of IPR protection regimes. The emphasis of the paper is on the significance to developing countries of these two somewhat opposing trends.
  • Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs) [PDF]
    This was the first U.N.-sponsored intellectual property and technical analysis, which covered “Terminator” technologies to sterilize or reduce the agronomic value of second generation seed. It includes the first usage of the term “GURTs ” (Genetic Use Restriction Technologies). The full paper and background information on the meeting where this paper was tabled is available on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity site.  See also the BioForge website on Apomixis.
  • Intellectual Property – Strategic Opportunity Assessment [PDF PatentLens Link]
    This series of slides were prepared by the Boston Consulting Group for the IP project sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation Global Inclusion Program. The slides include an analysis of policy landscapes and the ability to access current technologies along with the market forces that drive the creation and commercialisation of new technologies.