Steady the Course: Property Rights in Genetic Material

62 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2002

See all articles by Richard A. Epstein

Richard A. Epstein

New York University School of Law; Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: March 2003

Abstract

This paper defends the current legal regimes for the creation of property rights in the human genome and related forms of intellectual property. The basic trade-off of any system of intellectual property is the desire to spur innovation on the one hand while preventing the creation of blockades once patents are recognized. It argues that the creation of multiple patents not only increases the risk of blockade but creates the offsetting benefit of different ways to reach any business objective. The paper then reviews and rejects various strategies that may be used to both respect patent rights and undo blockades, including condemnation of patents and regimes of compulsory licenses. It also argues that the current rules on genomic patenting meet the general standards for valid patents, and concludes against many critics that the current system offers about the right mix between private rights and public access.

Note: A previous version of this paper was posted in June 2002.

Keywords: patents, antitrust, genome, condemnation, compulsory licenses

Suggested Citation

Epstein, Richard A., Steady the Course: Property Rights in Genetic Material (March 2003). U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 152. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=317101 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.317101

Richard A. Epstein (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

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New York, NY 10012
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Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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