Report

Biotechnology and Intellectual Property

How IP rights promote innovation and create economic and societal value.

We may not always realise it, but almost every creation, technology and technological device is protected by some form of intellectual property (IP) – be it a patent, copyright, design right, trademark, etc. Such protection applies to most of the things we see, hear, read and use on a daily basis. Why? Because all of these goods are the result of innovative, creative new thinking and doing. And biotechnological inventions are no different.

This brochure focuses on the specific relationship between biotechnology and IP.

Whilst innovation is at the heart of the biotechnology sector, it is itself enabled by IP, which ensures that public and private researchers are rewarded for their creations. The many economic and societal gains obtained from biotech innovations are therefore highly dependent on effective intellectual property rights.

Many actors are typically engaged in the development of biotechnological products. IP is the basis for technology transfer between these actors, thus ensuring open innovation. IP is the ’transmission belt’ for running the ‘innovation machine’ in complex fields of innovation like biotechnology.

IP protection enables public and private entities, large and small, to maintain and improve society’s welfare. It is a contract between society and innovators, in which the former accepts short term exclusive rights created by IP protection in order to enable long-term and well-being through innovation. Without IP protection, the many inventions that have shaped society would not have existed.