The Growing Public Domain in Medicine

29 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2014 Last revised: 31 Dec 2014

See all articles by Saurabh Vishnubhakat

Saurabh Vishnubhakat

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; Duke University School of Law

Date Written: January 7, 2014


This essay describes the growing public domain of inventions associated with drugs and medicine, and geographies associated with identifiable shifts in the balance of innovation that may be especially favorable for promoting wider access to socially useful technologies. To do so, it departs from the largely ex ante perspective that currently informs the intersectional debate regarding human rights and patent rights and, instead, looks backward to inquire what innovations from past patents have already become publicly available in service of the human rights objective of greater access to technology. Ex post analysis of this kind may help public and private institutions alike in identifying cycles of innovation that sustainably deprioritize socially valuable technologies and leave them free for public use.

Keywords: patents, innovation, public domain, human rights

JEL Classification: O33, O34

Suggested Citation

Vishnubhakat, Saurabh, The Growing Public Domain in Medicine (January 7, 2014). 15 Colum. Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. 293 (2014), Available at SSRN:

Saurabh Vishnubhakat (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States


Duke University School of Law

Durham, NC

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