The Roles of Material Transfer Agreements in Genetics Databases and Bio-Banks
28 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 5, 2013
Biobanks are an emerging, yet fast developing phenomenon in the field of genomic and proteonomic research. As in every field characterized by a rapid growth of (commercial) interests, the legal and contractual aspects are gaining momentum. The exchange of biological and research materials is becoming more and more formalized, and – differently from a few years ago – providing institutions now tend to impose the use of specific contract forms that detail the rights and obligations attached to the material. Such contractual agreements are commonly referred to as “Material Transfer Agreements”, or MTAs. In the origins of biobanks and of genetic research more generally, the exchange of bio-material was “free”, or at least “informal”. Such situation is common to many avant- garde fields during their generative period, which usually unfolds within the boundaries of public or academic research. The paper will analyze the evolution and current legal issue connected with the use of MTAs, and how new web-based technologies and projects such as sciencecommons can offer possible solutions.
Keywords: Material transfer agreements, copyright, patents, biobanks
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