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 crucial step of determining what, if anything, the commercial use and value of
a piece of IP-protected technology or genetics might be. The primary lessons of this section are that such
value is highly uncertain and difficult to assess. Yet, an understanding of the issues and methods involved
provides central insight into the nature of the problem of transferring technology from a scientific
laboratory to the market.
Key Implications and Best Practices: Section 9
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.
- Determining how to translate an invention into an innovation that makes a difference in people’s lives (economically or socially or both) is one of the principal reasons technology transfer offices exist.
- Government policies ought to be flexible and enable research institutions to customize technology transfer strategies that align with the institutions’ missions. Different approaches will serve different types of research and academic organizations working within various disciplines and cultures.
- It can be challenging to negotiate licensing agreements that are fair to everyone and conducive to making inventions become innovations. it is often better to make an imperfect deal than no deal at all. People do not benefit until technology is developed and distributed.
- Public sector institutions should therefore be supported in their overall deal making efforts rather than using individual deals as particularly good or bad examples.
- A government can make technology transfer less risky and more attractive for licensees by applying such policies as government R&D grants, subsidies, encouragement of clusters, financing of business incubators, and offering complementary R&D inputs or regulatory requirements that are conducive to the emergence of new technologies.
- Bioprospecting and related activities raise important issues with respect to pricing. Importantly for developing countries, when fees are “shifted forward” by increasing the collection fee and reducing royalty payments, more risk is transferred to the collecting company, which is developing the product, since the company will have to pay the same amount of money regardless of whether successful commercial products are developed from the collected material. Shifting fees forward may have particularly interesting possibilities, as doing so allows countries to invest resources early on to capture additional value in bioprospecting activities.
- It is important to adopt national policies that facilitate access to biological resources under fair and equitable terms with prior informed consent. Access mechanisms should be transparent, predictable, and managed by experts.
- There is a strong interaction between bioprospecting activity and national scientific capabilities. In countries with strong scientific capability, bioprospecting is robust. Moreover, such capacity increases the negotiating strengths and benefit sharing stipulated in contract agreements.
Evaluating Inventions from Research Institutions
by Lita Nelsen
Valuation of Bioprospecting Samples: Approaches, Calculations, and Implications for Policy-Makers
by William H. Lesser, Anatole Krattiger