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Editor-in-Chief,   Anatole Krattiger

Editorial Board

Concept Foundation


Fiocruz, Brazil

bioDevelopments-   Institute

The Policy and Legal Environment for Innovation
Topic Guide for Policymakers

Why This Topic Is Important

This section covers a full gamut of issues that can shape the national policy and legal environment for innovation. These include opportunities that you may exploit to advance innovation, such as the oversight of the courts, legislation over IP protection, ownership, and access, and funding science and higher education. At the same time, your degrees of freedom as a policymaker may be constrained by the need for compliance with international agreements, by realistic expectations about the amount of revenues that can come from technology transfer, and by the delicate and complex dynamics that can lead regional innovation clusters to succeed or fail. By understanding these issues, you will better understand the nature of the innovation environment within your country, and from the examples of other countries’ experiences you will draw inspiration for how you might reshape your own country’s innovative environment for the better.

Key Implications and Best Practices: Section 3

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.

  • Countries have considerable freedom to control the effects of TRIPS. Indeed, the impact of TRIPS will depend on how countries and institutions respond to the new IP regime. At a minimum, countries should take full advantage of the flexibilities offered by TRIPS, in line with the Doha Declaration. For example, a country strengthening its patent laws should concurrently strengthen its antitrust laws as well as capacities to enforce them.
  • Technology transfer efforts can be powerful when combined with government’s efforts to reorient the public sector’s IP strategies to enable the poor to benefit from public investments in innovation. To be effective, this should acknowledge the inadequacies of a top-down approach to developing IP management policies and approaches. Each institution has its unique strengths. To seize on these strengths, thoughtful dialogue between policy-conscious practitioners and practically informed policymakers should be encouraged.
  • Public institutions’ IP policies should address the institution’s obligation, whenever possible, to retain humanitarian-use rights to its inventions, and the government’s right to a license for technology developed with public funds, in case the public benefit is not being served adequately. Under extreme, well-defined circumstances, this may include full “march-in rights”. The potential for such government action will encourage companies to make products widely available in the market.
  • Public-private collaborations within publicly funded R&D programs can be powerful arrangements for optimizing public research investment.
  • Public-private partnerships aimed at product development are effective arrangements through which industry can invest and apply its expertise to address the needs of the poor. In many contexts such product-development partnerships (PDPs) are now driving the drug-development pipeline in neglected-disease R&D. National institutions in developing countries should be encouraged to participate in PDPs.
  • The ability of the local and national economy to absorb new technologies into existing industry or business sector can be strengthened through the encouragement of cluster formation. They require a long-standing and durable commitment to science education, research and related infrastructure, a strategically situated anchor institution with a proactive technology transfer office, and reliance on market forces as the engine for technology transfer.
  • Overall, public funds should be directed at product development partnerships that create collaborations, as opposed to buildings with bricks and mortar. Such strategies have proven most effective in strengthening and sustaining clusters.
  • Governments should support local entrepreneurship with much attention given to endogenous development, specifically to local, small- to medium-size enterprises and to spinouts. An effective short-term strategy may be to attract foreign companies to the area. They will bring jobs and often knowledge and expertise.

Recommended Chapters       Show All AbstractsShow All Abstracts

Show AbstractAbstract The Activities and Roles of M.I.T. in Forming Clusters and Strengthening Entrepreneurship
by Lita Nelsen

Show AbstractAbstract Building Research Clusters: Exploring Public Policy Options for Supporting Regional Innovation
by Peter W. B. Phillips, Camille D. Ryan

Show AbstractAbstract Compulsory Licensing: How to Gain Access to Patented Technology
by Carlos María Correa

Show AbstractAbstract The Courts and Innovation
by Pauline Newman

Show AbstractAbstract Developing Countries and TRIPS: What Next?
by Robert Eiss, Richard T. Mahoney, Kanikaram Satyanarayana

Show AbstractAbstract Echoes of Bayh-Dole? A Survey of IP and Technology Transfer Policies in Emerging and Developing Economies
by Gregory D. Graff

Show AbstractAbstract Global Health: Lessons from Bayh-Dole
by Rachel A. Nugent, Gerald T. Keusch

Show AbstractAbstract Public Sector IP Management in the Life Sciences: Reconciling Practice and Policy—Perspectives from WIPO
by Antony Taubman, Roya Ghafele

Show AbstractAbstract The Role of Clusters in Driving Innovation
by Peter W. B. Phillips, Camille D. Ryan

Show AbstractAbstract Technology Transfer Snapshots from Middle-Income Countries: Creating Socio-Economic Benefits through Innovation
by Susan K. Finston

Show AbstractAbstract The TRIPS Agreement and Intellectual Property in Health and Agriculture
by Jayashree Watal, Roger Kampf

Show AbstractAbstract U.S. Laws Affecting the Transfer of Intellectual Property
by Howard Bremer

Show AbstractAbstract What Does It Take to Build a Local Biotechnology Cluster in a Small Country? The Case of Turku, Finland
by Kimmo Viljamaa