As I have quoted in the past; Victoria Henson-Apollonio once said:
“think of IP as a tool, like a hammer you can use it to knock a nail into a piece of wood, or you can smash a window..!”
I was reminded of these words reading a piece printed in the Guardian entitled “The Shackling of Science: ownership rights pose real danger to scientific progress for public good”.
The final paragraph of the article points to:
“The Manchester Manifesto, produced by an interdisciplinary and international group of experts … explores these problems and points the way to future solutions that will more effectively protect science, innovation and the public good. It calls on all interested parties to find better ways of delivering the fruits of science where they are most needed.”
The commercial gains cited as a large part of the problem are probably evidence enough IPRs aren’t going away anytime soon. Therefore a prudent action would be to make sure public sector institutions become more savvy when managing their own intellectual property, especially when dealing with the private sector. That way efforts can be made to ensure public sector research outputs remain available. There are examples of positive application of the IP tool, but they aren’t going to make headlines in the same way as the negative ones…