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Research Tool Patents and Free-Libre Biotechnology: A Unified Perspective

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  • Julien Pénin
  • Jean Pierre Wack

Abstract

This paper proposes a unified conceptual framework to analyse the multiple role and consequences of patents in the case of biotechnology research tools. We argue that the knowledge/information and independent/complementary nature of research tools define heterogeneous frameworks in which the patent system plays different roles. In particular, using the analogy with the free-libre open source movement in software, we show that patents can promote open innovation by ensuring the freedom of some pieces of knowledge. A strong conclusion of the paper is therefore that, against common belief, an adequate use of the patent system may contribute to preserving freedom of access to upstream research tools within a framework that we call free-libre biotechnology.

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File URL: http://www.beta-umr7522.fr/productions/publications/2007/2007-24.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg in its series Working Papers of BETA with number 2007-24.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2007-24

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Keywords: Intellectual property rights; sequential innovation; open source; life science; collective invention.;

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