Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2049035
 


 



Patent Chokepoints in the Influenza-Related Medicines Industry: Can Patent Pools Provide Balanced Access?


Dana Beldiman


Bucerius Law School; University of California Hastings College of the Law

April 30, 2012

15 Tulane Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property 31 (2012)
UC Hastings Research Paper No. 25

Abstract:     
This paper illustrates the fact that when biological materials are used for development of pharmaceuticals, the patent system may function sub-optimally and may give rise to patent “thickets” and “anti-commons” which prevent commercialization of adequate amounts of product. The circumstances causing these conditions include the fact that multiple inventions are based on the same biological resource, patents largely cover similar functionalities and the patents are narrow and fragmented. As a result, in order to obtain freedom to operate, drug developers must license-in multiple patents, often from competitors. This situation gives rise to uncertainty and is prone to hold-outs. The number of players actually developing drugs is narrowed to a point of a “single player” or a “no player” scenario.

The conditions described above are examined in the context of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, an agreement concluded in May 2011 by the World Health Organization, to facilitate availability to pharmaceutical manufacturers of influenza virus samples. Due to the fact that the Framework fails to establish an IP governance regime to control patenting activity, national patent laws apply. For the reasons explained above, their application results in sub-optimal functioning of the patent system and the inability to generate a broad based of affordable pharmaceuticals, as proposed by the Framework.

The paper proposes an alternate approach in the form of a patent pool or comparable cross licensing agreement. Requiring all recipients of biological materials to join such arrangement, would re-allocate rights to provide all players access to the technologies derived from the influenza samples. This approach would avoid patent thickets and holdouts, reduce transaction costs associated with individual licensing and avoid uncertainty regarding the ability to secure freedom to operate.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 32

Keywords: patent, patent pool, influenza, patent thicket, holdout

JEL Classification: 034

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: May 1, 2012 ; Last revised: February 24, 2014

Suggested Citation

Beldiman, Dana, Patent Chokepoints in the Influenza-Related Medicines Industry: Can Patent Pools Provide Balanced Access? (April 30, 2012). 15 Tulane Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property 31 (2012); UC Hastings Research Paper No. 25. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2049035

Contact Information

Dana Beldiman (Contact Author)
Bucerius Law School ( email )
Jungiusstr. 6
Hamburg, 20355
Germany
University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )
200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
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