The Global Congress Research Survey: Research Priorities, Part 3, Patents, Medicines, and Trade

Welcome to part three of our series of comments on ‘research priorities,’ drawn from the 2013 Global Congress Research Survey.  This section focuses mostly on patents, health, and trade issues.

Part 1 provides an explanation of the survey and the first collection of comments.
Part 2 focuses mostly on copyright reform and enforcement.

As before, if you’d like to submit a couple paragraphs about research priorities for the field, here’s the place to do so.  We’ll publish them back out.

Amy Kapczynski, Yale Law School, USA 

I think we need more serious conceptualization of the commons and of public alternatives to the market.   Studies of actual existing innovation schemes — in the commons, or public — that work and that conceptualize why sharing is important are high priorities, as well as work that explores how to deal w/ the flaws of these modes (insularity, waste, political interference1.  Also, there needs to be more work on local IP law, and implementation of international agreements locally.  We are better at the international scale because it’s easier to access.

Jorge Contreras, American University, USA  

There is a need for good empirical work that quantifies the impact of patenting structures on innovation and welfare across different jurisdictions.  Do more or fewer patents fuel innovation?  What is the impact of patent litigation on innovators?  Are there migrations of talent, capital or funding across borders based on patent issuance or litigation?

Arlene Zank, Way Better Patents, USA

Significant effort needs to be dedicated to patent quality research and the dynamics of the patent marketplace. There are several “urban legend” patent studies that are informing policy discussions – the James Bessen and Michael Meurer work on the impact of non-practicing entities, Colleen Chien on patent litigation, for example.  These studies are based on a proprietary dataset developed by a firm that stands to benefit from results of the study.  More high-quality scientific examination of these types of findings is needed.  Researchers and investigators need to see if they can replicate the results of these studies independently and document the quantitative and economic methods for measuring the impact of NPEs.

An extension of work done on the impact of asymmetric information in patent licensing discussions is needed.  Earlier work by Mark Lemly and others that discuss the economic impact of the lack of information transparency on patent licensing discussions warrants significant academic scrutiny.  Along the same lines, the impact of private transfer of intellectual property (or more accurately the transfer of IP in private1 should be examined in light of the disclosure requirements for patents. Continue reading “The Global Congress Research Survey: Research Priorities, Part 3, Patents, Medicines, and Trade”

The Global Congress Research Survey: Research Priorities, Part 1

Between July and September, 2013, The American Assembly surveyed members of the ‘Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest’ community to learn more about their research and priorities. We invited responses from anyone who had either been to a Global Congress, been invited, or expressed interest in coming to one–a total of around 600 people.  We received around 90 responses.

While the responses aren’t a representative sample of the community’s views on these issues, they make for interesting reading and are well worth a look for those interested in the intersection of research and IP policymaking.  Broadly speaking, they describe a community focused on understanding how innovation systems for science and culture work, from rights and incentives to enforcement and changing cultural practices.

Rather than attempt a synthesis of the responses, we’ve decided to present this material in two ways.

First, we’re publishing edited and–in some cases–revised responses that offered relatively detailed accounts of the field or specific recommendations for future research. The first of 4-5 installments is below.

The goal isn’t full representation of the community (however one might define it1 or an authoritative list of its priorities, but simply sharing back as many of the detailed suggestions and insights as we can.

If this process is useful to people, we can think about doing it again (and making it better and more inclusive1 ahead of the next Global Congress.  If you didn’t participate but want to share a few paragraphs about research needs,  here’s the place to do so.  If we receive a bunch of new ones, we’ll publish them.

Thanks again to those who participated.


Part 1 provides an explanation of the survey and selection principles, plus some overview comments.
Part 2 explores copyright, users’ rights, and enforcement
Part 3 looks at patents, health, and trade.
Part 4 explores creative economies and practices.
Part 5 looks at issues of capacity, communication, and history in the field.

Continue reading “The Global Congress Research Survey: Research Priorities, Part 1”