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

  • Pénin, Julien
  • Wack, Jean-Pierre

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
Issue (Month): 10 (December)
Pages: 1909-1921

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:37:y:2008:i:10:p:1909-1921
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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