23 June 2008
Montreal, June 23, 2008. After seven years of work, an international expert group on biotechnological intellectual property is preparing to release its findings next fall. With funding from the government of Canada, the group of experts from eight disciplines including law, medicine, philosophy, bioethics, economics, political science and management, are addressing how governments, industry and NGOs can better use intellectual property in biotechnology to develop and disseminate this century’s needed health, agricultural and industrial products and services.
The international expert group, led by Dr. Richard Gold, Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy at McGill University, adresses the ways in which the patent system could be enhanced so as to both increase innovation and ensure that it benefits people in both developed and developing countries. Technology fields such genomics, nanomaterials and biofuels hold considerable promise for populations facing hunger, global warming, viral outbreaks, cancer and other challenges.
While there has been a boom in biotechnology over the last two decades, most biotechnology companies have still to make a profit and the number and quality of new medical therapies has declined while costs have increased. The world’s present way of using intellectual property – the system that largely has supported biotechnological innovation – is undergoing a sea change that could, if properly managed, lead to greater innovation and to better meeting the needs of the world’s population.
The international expert group has taken on the challenge of assisting governments, industry and NGOs to manage this change in intellectual property. One of the principal conclusions of the expert group is the need to create an honest, independent broker to provide training, advice and mediation in the area of intellectual property. This has led to the creation of The Innovation Partnership (TIP), a non-profit consulting firm based in Montreal buth with experts from around the world, to meet this need.
Alain Labonté / Alain Labonté Communications