kindly supported by the
Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management, Bournemouth University
is pleased to announce the
1st 2017 workshop series
“Ethics of Intellectual Property Rights: Challenges & Solutions”
Executive Business Centre, Bournemouth University
Friday, 17 March 2017
“Ethics” as a principle that guides our society on what is “good” or “bad” fuels controversies on all scientific disciplines. Being at the crossroads between scientific innovations and public policy, the field of intellectual property appears to embrace many of the tensions created by exclusiveness on the fruits of human mind. Although neoclassical economic theory bestows intellectual property rights (IPRs) with the function to promote innovation for the benefit of society, this theory has been put to the test by new institutional economics, empirical studies, and IP scholars, who have voiced growing concerns on IPRs’ negative effects on innovation and societal welfare. Some current examples that illustrate worries on societal welfare are related to the difficulties of accessing protected innovations, such as medicines and food products. The territorial application of IPRs may also hinder people’s fundamental rights to benefit from information and culture in a globalised world (e.g., access and use of copyright protected films, video on demand, literary works, etc.).
Other concerns may arise from increasing litigation, strategic use of IPRs to drive away competitors, and abuse or misuse of rights. These situations may waste resources instead of making a positive contribution to innovation. Technological advancements may pose further challenges. Their impact on societal welfare will depend on the object and scope of protection. The potential of 3-D printing to improve biomedical tools, for example, will be determined by the uses allowed under IPRs.
In these terms, IPRs cannot be considered detrimental for innovation. They are a business tool that directs the flow of capital towards ‘desirable’ inventions and facilitates profitmaking. What should be questioned, thus, is the way they are used. In some areas, however, IPRs may be deemed undesirable and alternative systems of protection may bring more benefits to society (e.g., pharmaceuticals). Hence, the question:
How to Reconcile IPRs with Ethics for the Benefit of Society?
Aim and Scope of the Workshop
This workshop aims at answering this question through a comprehensive understanding of all interests involved. We consider ‘Ethics of IP’ to include the concerns of innovators, their competitors, and end consumers/users of protected inventions in order to serve society.
Our goal is to thoroughly discuss and analyse the role of ethics in all areas of intellectual protection: copyright, industrial designs, trade marks, patents, trade secrets and interfaces between different rights.
We invite PhD students in all areas of intellectual property to submit an abstract explaining how they discuss ethics of IPRs in their work. Students who engage in interdisciplinary research both from a doctrinal and empirical perspective are welcome to apply. Those who examine specific ethical problems in IP regulation are highly encouraged to apply. We wish to promote a dialogue on what type of laws should society promote, how to reform current provisions and shape future ones.
Abstract (max 500 words) submission: 15 January 2017
Acceptance notification: 20 January 2017
Concept paper (max 3000 words): 28 February 2017
The event is organised by Viola Prifti, on behalf of New IP Lawyers. Please, submit your abstracts for peer review and a short bio with your name and affiliation to Viola: firstname.lastname@example.org