The impact of intellectual property rights on the commercialization of promoter and transformation technology in academia



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Texas Tech University


University research in biotechnology provided much of the initial development of the biotechnology industry. However, following several decisions which lead to intellectual property protection of living matter, private industry has obtained exclusive patents on many of the tools and components of biotechnology research. Broad patents claiming the right to exclude all others from the creation of certain transgenic crops has restricted the abilities of other companies and universities to commercialize many genetic advances in most major crop species. Use of cotton is an example of the constrained environment that exists in research in the United States today.

To ensure their research in crops like cotton has commercial potential, university researchers must understand the legal implications involved in using protected technologies, research materials and methods as part of their own research programs. Most patented research tools such as promoters and transformation methods that conduct exogenous gene expression allow for research exemptions through other formal agreement or lack of enforceability. However, commercialization of the research products developed using the protected technologies is often difficult or impossible. By having an understanding of existing patents in cotton, researchers can structure their projects to develop commercially viable products that will avoid infiingement or expensive licensing requirements. Knowledge of relevant issues in licensing agreements and research agreements, in addition to the standards applied toward infringing technologies, is necessary to allow researchers to avoid or improve upon patented technologies. The purpose of this research was to determine the impact of intellectual property rights on promoters and transformation methods on academic research programs.



Cotton, Intellectual property