Title: Intellectual property sharing agreements in gene technology: implications for research and commercialisation

Authors: Stuart J. Smyth, Richard Gray

Addresses: Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 5A8 Canada. ' Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 5A8 Canada

Abstract: In the early 1980s, countries began to allow patenting of biotechnological processes and products, creating technology advancements and rapid development of private industry. Part of the industry development that ensued was a consolidation of small firms and the creation of a few, large life science companies, each owning the requisite intellectual property (IP) and having freedom-to-operate. Despite the ability and potential gains from doing so, for many years there was very little apparent flow of IP between firms, separating potentially complementary technologies. A recent development in the ag-biotech industry, has been the increase in gene trait cross-licensing agreements. While these agreements hold much promise as means to facilitate the much needed sharing of IP, they raise additional concerns with respect to market concentration. This article examines publicly accessible information about the nature of these IP sharing agreements and the incentives they may create.

Keywords: genetic traits; oligopolies; innovation; commercialisation; intellectual property sharing; cross-licensing agreements; gene technology; R&D; research and development; biotechnological processes; biotechnological products; technology advancements; industrial consolidation; large companies; life science companies; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; freedom-to-operate; complementary technologies; ag-biotech industry; agricultural biotechnology; agriculture; market concentration; USA; United States; intellectual property management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIPM.2011.041082

International Journal of Intellectual Property Management, 2011 Vol.4 No.3, pp.179 - 190

Available online: 30 Jun 2011 *

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