|Posted: Monday, October 1, 2007|
|October 2007 Newsletter|
|Publication Date: October 1, 2007|
With the Patent Reform Act of 2007 pending in Congress, Claude Barfield and John E. Calfee have published Biotechnology and the Patent System: Balancing Innovation and Property Rights (AEI Press, September 2007), in which they examine patent reform legislation, especially as it applies to the biotechnology pharmaceutical industry. They argue that the rapidly evolving scientific industry requires policy to evolve with it, but there are dangers in changing laws too broadly, too fast.
Early chapters address the emergence of the modern biotech industry, modes of research and development, and characteristics specific to the industry. Barfield and Calfee also consider the role of intellectual property rights. Because biotech involves "an extended research process that incorporates discoveries often performed by separate, distinct entities," a patent "anticommons" could, in theory, inhibit research. In practice, however, biotech innovation competitors such as research universities and commercial enterprises have largely fostered a "healthy, not negative, outcome."
Over the past decade the United States has seen a boom in patent applications but a decline in patent quality. To reverse this decline, public policy must take into account the diverse industries and parties involved. But many disagree about the scope of reform.
Barfield and Calfee argue that "there is little urgency for sweeping, drastic legislative action." Seemingly innocuous adjustments in patent law have had adverse unintended consequences. On the other hand, self-correcting forces have curtailed the most serious threats to efficient patenting. Nonetheless, "limited changes aimed at making the granting and litigation of biotechnology patents and patents in other technology sectors more efficient could strengthen the patent system and foster greater innovation." The patent process must be reformed cautiously, for Congress's decision could change patent-based industries considerably.
For more information about this book, visit www.aei.org/book909/.
AEI - Short Publications: "
Posted by <> at 13:14