Symposium: Intellectual property and the biosciences

White Rose IPBio Symposium and Summer School

Devonshire Hall, University of Leeds, 7-8 July 2010

With the recent overturning by a US court of patents on genes associated with breast cancer, questions about the role of intellectual property in the biological sciences are high on the agenda.  This meeting, comprising a one-day symposium and a half-day summer school, and bringing together international experts in law, science policy, history, philosophy, sociology and other disciplines, will aim to clarify key issues and explore ways forward.

The symposium will take place on Wednesday 7 July 2010 and will run from 9am to 6pm as follows:

09.00-09.20 Registration
09.20-09.30 Introduction by Gregory Radick (Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, Leeds)
09.30-10.15 Robert Cook-Deegan (Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Duke): “Gene Patents and Policy: The Neverending Story”
10.15-11.00 Daniel Kevles (History, Yale): “Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights in Fruit Trees and Plants: Contracts, Patents and the Courts in the 1920s and Now”
11.00-11.30 Coffee break
11.30-12.15 Bronwyn Parry (Geography, Queen Mary, London): “Patents and the Challenge of ‘Sharewaring’ in Post-Genomic Bioscience: The Case of Model Mice”
12.15-13:00 Jane Calvert (Innogen, Edinburgh): “Ownership, Sharing and Community-Building in Synthetic Biology”
13.00-14.00 Lunch
14.00-14.45 Aurora Plomer (SIBLE, Sheffield): “Patent Boundaries: Global Challenges in Emerging Fields of Science”
14.45-15.30 Antony Taubman (IP Division, World Trade Organization): “Rights to Exclude, and Rights to be Included: Reviewing the Ethical Basis for IP in the Life Sciences”
15.30-16.00 Coffee break
16.00-16.45 Lady Lisa Markham (Harrison Goddard Foote, patent attorneys, Leeds): “Tiptoeing around Restrictions in Biotechnology Inventions: A Practitioner’s Experience”
16.45-17.30 Rebecca Eisenberg (Law, Michigan): “The Future of Diagnostic Patents”
17.30-18.00 Concluding discussion

A summer school will take place the next day, on the morning of Thursday 8 July 2010, and is intended to give postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers working in the broad areas of intellectual property and the biosciences an opportunity for feedback on recent work (in the form of pre-circulated papers).

Applications to the summer school are now closed.

To register for the symposium, please contact Berris Charnley, email:, postal address: Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT.

The registration fee – which covers lunch and coffee – is £60.00, though it is hoped that a student subsidy will be available.

Places are limited so pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

Launched in May 2009 in association with the IPBio Network and with funding from the White Rose Consortium, this project seeks to provide staff and students across the White Rose universities – and across the disciplines bearing on intellectual property in the biological sciences – with new opportunities for collaboration, with each other and with some of the best scholars from around the world.

The White Rose IPBio Project Team are: at Sheffield, Aurora Plomer (Law), Margaret Llewelyn (Law) and Richard Jones (Physics); at York, Tom Baldwin (Philosophy) and Andrew Webster (Sociology); and at Leeds, Graham Dutfield (Law) and Gregory Radick (History and Philosophy of Science).  The Project Administrator is Berris Charnley (HPS, Leeds).

The symposium and summer school are co-located with the conference “Managing Knowledge in the Technosciences, 1850-2000” organized by the AHRC project “Owning and Disowning Invention”.  Further details can be found here.


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