The Perils of Taking Property Too Far

Stanford Journal of Law, Science and Policy, Vol. 46, 2009

19 Pages Posted: 27 May 2009 Last revised: 14 Nov 2012

See all articles by Christopher Heaney

Christopher Heaney

Julia Carbone

affiliation not provided to SSRN

E. Richard Gold

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Tania Bubela

University of Alberta - Faculty of Public Health

Christopher M. Holman

University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law

Alessandra Colaianni

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Tracy R. Lewis

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business-Economics Group; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Duke University - Department of Economics; Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Bob Cook-Deegan

Arizona State University (ASU) - School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Date Written: May 12, 2009

Abstract

Many policies governing biobanks revolve around ownership and control of the materials and information in them. Those who manage biobanks may be tempted to seek the broadest legal rights possible over material and data. However, we suggest that even if ownership and control were clearly defined by the law and readily obtained by biobanks, how legal rights are used in practice matters as much or more than the rules for ownership. We draw lessons from the stories of genetic testing for Canavan disease and inherited breast and ovarian cancers. In both cases, the use or assertion of legal rights led to preventable controversy and suboptimal outcomes. The attempt to acquire and exercise intellectual property rights antagonized and alienated stakeholders, whom we define broadly to include the donors, patients, doctors, research institutions, health care providers, governments, and citizens with an interest in research and its outcomes. By analogy, even if biobanks could acquire expansive and clear property rights over materials and data, biobanks that want to maintain productive relationships with stakeholders must not lose the trust of those who contribute material or others with an interest in research.

Keywords: biobank, biobanks, genetic testing, genomic testing, Canavan, Myriad, BRCA, research ethics, gene patents, genes, patents, ethics, business models, public health care, clinicial genetics

Suggested Citation

Heaney, Christopher and Carbone, Julia and Gold, E. Richard and Bubela, Tania and Holman, Christopher M. and Colaianni, Alessandra and Lewis, Tracey R. and Cook-Deegan, Robert M, The Perils of Taking Property Too Far (May 12, 2009). Stanford Journal of Law, Science and Policy, Vol. 46, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1406658

Julia Carbone

affiliation not provided to SSRN

E. Richard Gold

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Tania Bubela

University of Alberta - Faculty of Public Health ( email )

11405 - 87 Ave.
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 1C9
Canada
(780) 492-9335 (Phone)

Christopher M. Holman

University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law ( email )

5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
United States

Alessandra Colaianni

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Tracey R. Lewis

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business-Economics Group ( email )

Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0097
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

Robert M Cook-Deegan (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - School for the Future of Innovation in Society ( email )

PO Box 875603
Tempe, AZ 85287-560
United States

No contact information is available for Christopher Heaney

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