1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Genomics Forum · Events

IP Workshop II: ‘Commercialisation and Control’

Workshop   30.11.1999






ESRC Genomics Forum, Edinburgh

Event details

Key Themes

  • The role of public and private funding in university collaborations with industry
  • The implementation of social, ethical and cultural values in genomics and IP governance
  • Viability and limitations of IP applications in genomics and public health
  • Values and trends in the management of human tissue samples and data collections
  • Public perceptions and reactions towards commercialisation of genomics

Case Studies

  • Ethics and patentability of stem cell research
  • The rising use of race/ethnicity categories in biotechnology drug patent claims
  • Mechanisms and models to control the use of human tissue for research purposes

Session 1 on '“Public” and “Private” in Genomics Research' aimed to further discussion on the balance between public and private funding in genomics research, the nature of collaborations between university and industry and the implications of patenting for scientific work and practice. Issues discussed were a) conceptualisations of commons and anticommons in managing public and private knowledge resources; b) implications of the internationalisation of patent activity in biotechnology; c) articulations of public interest in the management of intellectual property in biotechnology.

Session 2 on 'Evaluative Approaches in IP and Genomics Policy' targeted current policy approaches for incorporation of social, ethical and diverse cultural values in intellectual property and genomics governance. Issues discussed were a) ethical questions in the patentability of stem cell research and b) the implications of the rising use of race/ethnicity categories in biotechnology patents.

Session 3 on the 'Impact of Intellectual Property on Genomics and Health' focused on problematic applications of intellectual property for public health with focus on costs and access to drugs and services. Issues discussed were a) the impact of exclusive patent rights on access to genetic testing; b) the role of advocacy and patient groups in mobilising resources and influencing research; c) optimal mechanisms for controlling the use of human tissue for research.

Session 4 on 'Human Tissue Research Commercialisation: Publics, Ethics and Policy in UK' examined policy practices in researching public attitudes towards commercialisation of genomics research in order to discuss the content and inclusion of public perceptions in this area and debate the role of social scientists in framing UK public policy on human gene research. Issues discussed were a)socio-ethical aspects of regulating commercial research in genomics and b) policy assessment of public awareness of research commercialisation in UK.

IP DVD Compilation

The Forum’s artist in residence, Alistair Gentry led a DVD screening and discussion session inspired by intellectual property rights’ "piracy’" in the audiovisual world. Alistair explored examples of 'equivalence' and 'dissonance' between proprietary forms of rights in a commentary comparing case studies of appropriation on informational and biological material. The session was planned as an informal investigation in the translation of high-level research to non-academic language, lay knowledge and experience.

Selected Bibliography

Genomics and Intellectual Property Workshop II - Advisory Reports Genomics and Intellectual Property Workshop II - Academic Research Publications

Further details