How Patents Harm Biotech Innovation

from the scaring-people-off dept

Patent defenders often claim that patents are necessary because top venture capitalists would never invest without patents. And yet, we keep pointing to examples of some of the best venture capitalists in the business who are quite skeptical of patents. For the most part, those have been limited to software patents, but Brad Feld seems to have jumped the hurdle to recognizing it's not just software patents that are the problem, and is digging into the research on how much patents have held back innovation in lots of other fields as well (Brad: if you want a list of more such research, let us know...). He's written up a post about some upcoming research concerning patents in the biotech field, where he explains how patents are hindering innovation in that field as well by scaring off research into certain areas:
Regularly, patent advocates tell me how important patents are for the biotech and life science industries. However, there apparently is academic research in the works that shows that patents actually slow down innovation in biotech. The specific example we discussed was that there is increasing evidence that when a professor or company gets a patent in the field of genetics research, other researchers simply stop doing work in that specific area. As a result, the number of researchers on a particular topic decreases, especially if the patent is broad. It's not hard to theorize that this results in less innovation around this area over time.
I can't wait to see the final results of that study, as it would fit in well with a few other studies that have found similar results.

Filed Under: biotech, brad feld, innovation, patents, vcs


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  1. identicon
    :), 7 Feb 2010 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patents.

    Of course you are talking about China because it can't be Japan that has a GINI of 38% or Tawain and South Korea that are medical tourism hot spots were the level of medical assistance far surpass the U.S.

    Or maybe you are talking about the poor countries like India that are developing innovative ways to treat people and is being used as a testbed for ultra-low cost medicine.

    Labs made out of paper

    $25 incubator for babies

    India Ancient Knowledge 1 x 0 Modern Science

    Google have a very nice impact for now on the world.
    Google impact in India

    South African born youtube superstar

    The guy was catapulted into instant stardoom could he be the next vanilla ice? would he maintain his roots and give the people what they want?

    Die Antwoord - Enter The Ninja (Official)

    Saw this on Boingo Boingo and the fun part is the guys make their music with no real studio apparently they did it all at home and if the little interview in the one of the clips is real then the guy still lives with his mom and pop :)

    But we all know that artists can't be born from the internet right?

    No possible good music that kind that is entertaining is possible without the help of big bucks right?

    Yah! Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!

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