FLOSS methods in biotechnology

Andrea Glorioso


In 2002 UNCTAD proposed [1] a categorization of “key issues” in biotechnology, which included (a) “building capacity for developing and managing biotechnology,” [2] (b) “biosafety and bioethics and the capacity for risk assessment,” [3] (c) “building awareness of biotechnology” [4] and (d) “accessing biotechnology and intellectual property rights” [5]. A number of perceived problems in the current regime of intellectual property protection and, more in general, of innovation policies has given fuel to several discourses on and around “alternative” methods to stimulate, protect and manage innovation in the biotech field. Following an earlier work on the subject [6], this paper aims to contribute to the conceptualization of the biotechnology innovation process, with specific attention to patent licensing practices, under the lenses of FLOSS [7] legal, economical, and cultural dynamics — what has been dubbed elsewhere as “Open Source Biotechnology.” [8] The discussion will be limited to a specific subfield — namely, the bio–pharmaceutical field — and to a limited set of players, i.e. profit–maximizing firms, with the desire to understand what are the obstacles and the options for a firm in use a “FLOSS model” in its research, development and commercialization processes.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v11i7.1366

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