Market Competition in Aid of Humanitarian Concern: Reconsidering Pharmaceutical Drug Patents
Chicago-Kent Journal of Intellectual Property, Vol. 9, p. 149, 2010
30 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2011
Date Written: October 14, 2011
The grant of monopoly patent protection is justified normally as a means for giving incentive for innovation. Market driven innovation is not necessarily equitable, however, and the development concerns over the international intellectual property regime governing the products of medical research are particularly pressing given the basic necessities involved. The market patent system may be said to fail individuals in developing countries in regards to both focus and access; as no incentive is given for research into maladies not present in wealthy marketplaces; or even if a medicine is universally required, then access is precluded economically from the poor.
The following paper considers recently popular prize fund alternatives to the patent system, and arrives at a new alternative that is based upon market reward and the retention of patentability. The proposal offered attempts to incorporate global health measures into a competitive system of tradable patent terms. Under this proposal pharmaceutical advances which serve a humanitarian purpose would receive a patent term that is severable from the originating idea or formula, so as to become a free-floating and tradable patent term. Discoveries of humanitarian medicines, or their donation, may in this manner achieve market value through the trade and application of the floating protection term to another, more commercially viable pharmaceutical product. Ideally, this proposal would serve to equate advances of a humanitarian and non-market nature with the most lucrative market drugs, and to further have blockbuster drug sales indirectly finance humanitarian advances.
Keywords: patents, intellectual property, humanitarian, pharmaceutical
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