While promising great advancement in the understanding of genetic variability and drug response, the rapidly growing field of pharmacogenomics is plagued with an increasingly complex landscape of intellectual property rights. The often prohibitive transaction costs of negotiating a multitude of licensing agreements threaten to stifle innovation and limit the success that many hope pharmacogenomics will bring to personalized medicine. By aggregating intellectual property rights, patent pools offer an intriguing solution to some of the access issues confronting the pharmacogenomics industry. In the face of a proliferation of genomic patents, patent pools provide a unique opportunity to navigate the patent thicket and render proprietary technologies more accessible for use in the creation of new, potentially patentable, genomic technologies. This Note examines the possibility of utilizing patent pools in order to facilitate the advancement of pharmacogenomics and, ultimately, a new era of personalized medicine. Specifically, this Note argues that patent pools minimize the threat of an anticommons, reduce transaction costs and are pro-competitive intellectual property tools that contribute to the growth of new emerging technologies in well-defined commercial settings. Finally, this Note suggests that patent pools are a particularly viable option in the field of gene-based diagnostic testing, which could serve as an illustration of how patent pools can facilitate scientific innovation.
Scala, Courtney C., "Making the Jump from Gene Pools to Patent Pools: How Patent Pools Can Facilitate the Development of Pharmacogenomics Note" (2009). Connecticut Law Review. 37.