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
    anti anti mike, 7 Feb 2010 @ 2:57pm

    If nobody is using them, they are worthless.

    NO thats as others have said because some large company, as IBM even said patents loads of stuff so tha if they get sued they have neough patents to sue on anyone back to make it not worth your while. THATS NOT business its warfare. ITS same thing the usa did with nuclear weapons and russia. BOTH BUILT up sooo many weapons that if either side uses them they get poofed. LITTLE small countries that do no thave such weapons, however are TOLD and forced to doing actions they might not otherwise and cant do what the big boys tell them not too.

    THIS IS AWFUL, EVIL and AMORAL. As others suggest and you will see evidence and here is an example of copyright.

    Take the DND basic edition. WOTC dont sell it no more, in fact all you can get are used copies around yet. YOU can't try and make new copies or use parts in anything because they hold the rights. its 33 years old and it would take even one sale away from there precious new crap then they will and have and others have done is make it so YOU CANT do shit with it. In Canada they are taking funding away form pharmacies because they buy generic drugs here, and ACTA will prevent this so the idea is to phase it out entirely. THE costs for your medicines are about to skyrocket in Canada and we may be looking at one issue that will begin a real patent/copyright war. WHEN we no longer can afford to look after our elderly thats going to lose them conservative/liberal types a lot of votes. IT WILL be the end of any reagonism in Canada.

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