Your source for expert commentary on IP management issues.
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Editor-in-Chief, Anatole Krattiger
Why This Topic Is Important
This section addresses the question how intellectual property impacts upon some of today's most
fundamental social challenges, including economic growth, global inequality, and ethics. It introduces the
Handbook's over-arching message that intellectual property can, as a policy tool, be wielded to serve the
Key Implications and Best Practices
Given that IP management is heavily context specific, these Key Implications and Best Practices are intended as starting points to be adapted to specific needs and circumstances.
- Intellectual property (IP) is a tool to foster innovation. Whether viewed as a legal concept, a social construct, a business asset, or an instrument to achieve humanitarian objectives, the value of intellectual property cannot be disputed.
- IP rights are a compromise and an imperfect solution, representing the search for balance between making all knowledge available within the public domain and granting ownership of valuable discoveries to the inventors. Reaching an appropriate balance requires continuous, sound IP management.
- The use of the existing IP system, especially coupled with sound patenting and licensing strategies, resolves the apparent Paradox: the pursuit of the public interest through private rights.
- The emerging global systems of innovation in health and agriculture open up new prospects for innovation everywhere. This notion, that the public interest can be served through private rights, has profound implications for the management of innovation, technology transfer, market competition, and economic development in every country, regardless of its economic status.
- Innovation is a complex process. It is stimulated by coordinated and structured policies and programs. The IP management system is an important factor, but it is only one of six factors that determine a country’s or institution’s ability to innovate.
- Intellectual property is integral to all six components of innovation that are, in addition to IP management: R&D in the public and private sectors; safe and effective regulatory systems; the ability to produce new products to high standards of quality; a national distribution system in both the public and private sectors; and international distribution systems and trade in technologies.
- Policies to promote the creation and management of intellectual property by public sector institutions should give first priority to advancing the missions of those institutions.
- There are few laws that address the ethics of patenting. In the absence of a clear consensus, ethical decisions concerning biotechnology patents will need to be made on a case-by-case basis.
- Protection and licensing go hand in hand. Public research institutions have much to gain if they are permitted to protect their inventions. A system that allows technologies to be patented and that encourages institutions to license them will both help countries to reach their economic goals and better serve the poor.
- Policymakers should encourage and fund national technology transfer managers’ associations to the extent that doing so is feasible. Such associations are working to determine best practices in technology transfer and licensing.
Building Product Innovation Capability in Health
by Richard T. Mahoney
Genomics, Ethics, and Intellectual Property
by Gary E. Marchant
IP Management and Deal Making for Global Health Outcomes: The New “Return on Imagination” (ROI)
by John Fraser
The Role of IP Management in Health and Agricultural Innovation
by Richard T. Mahoney, Anatole Krattiger