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Research tool patents and free-libre biotechnology: A suggested unified framework

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  • Pénin, Julien
  • Wack, Jean-Pierre

Abstract

This paper proposes a unified conceptual framework to analyze 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Pénin, Julien & Wack, Jean-Pierre, 2008. "Research tool patents and free-libre biotechnology: A suggested unified framework," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1909-1921, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:37:y:2008:i:10:p:1909-1921
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dr Chiara Rosazza Bondibene, 2012. "A Study of Patent Thickets," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 401, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    2. repec:spr:scient:v:104:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-015-1628-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sebastian von Engelhardt, 2010. "Quality Competition or Quality Cooperation? License-Type and the Strategic Nature of Open Source vs. Closed Source Business Models," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-034, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Julien Pénin, 2008. "More open than open innovation? Rethinking the concept of openness in innovation studies," Working Papers of BETA 2008-18, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

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