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Friday, February 14, 2014

Patent Trolling: Why Bio & Pharmaceuticals Are at Risk

Groundbreaking study by Professor Robin Feldman and Harvard Fellow Dr. Nicholson Price show conventional wisdom is wrong when it comes to patent trolls, bio and pharma.
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Robin Feldman, Professor of Law and Director, Institute for Innovation Law

Conventional wisdom holds that bio and pharma are safe from patent trolls. In a ground-breaking study, Professor Robin Feldman and Harvard Fellow Dr. Nicholson Price show that the conventional wisdom is wrong.

The study is available for download via SSRN: Patent Trolling: Why Bio & Pharmaceuticals Are at Risk. Highlights include:

  • With the Association of University Technology Managers revisiting its policy against selling to NPEs, the authors considered whether universities could provide an extensive pool of ammunition for NPEs to launch against current products.
  • To supplement increasing anecdotal evidence that patent trolling is moving into bio and pharma, the authors examined the life science holdings of five major universities.We skimmed the patent holdings for four of the of five university systems with the highest number of patents issued in fiscal year 2011: the University of California system, the University of Texas system, MIT, and CalTech. We added as a wild-card the University of South Florida, the school among the top 10 in 2011 patent grants which had the lowest ratio of license revenues to research expenditures. 
  • The study identified dozens of patents that could be deployed against current bio and pharm industries, following the patterns that NPEs have used against other industries. These include patents on drug formulas, methods of treatments, research methods, dosage forms, and others.
  • In deciding whether to undertake the study, the authors agonized over whether the potential for harm outweighed the potential benefit. After all, if reform efforts are not undertaken, the work could simply provide a handy road map for those who would follow.
  • Life sciences trolling is predictable and in its infancy, however. The study is intended to sound a warning bell.

About the Instititute for Innovation Law at UC Hastings

The Institute for Innovation Law (Institute) is a public interest academic center at UC Hastings. The Institute engages in academic research and education to encourage innovation through the practice and development of law and policy. The Institute’s mission is to identify and promote the tools, knowledge, and skills needed to encourage innovation through the practice and development of law and policy.

Media Contact

Alex A.G. Shapiro
Director, Communications & Public Affairs
UC Hastings College of the Law
Office: (415) 581-8842
Cell: (415) 813-9214
Email: shapiroa@uchastings.edu

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