Intellectual Property in the Biomedical Sciences
Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, intellectual property rights (IPRs) have become increasingly important in many areas of science, including (and perhaps especially) biomedical research. This is evidenced by a dramatic rise in patenting activity. Between 1983 and 2003, the number of patents issued to U.S. universities rose from 434 to 3,259 (Walsh et al. 2007: 1184); patenting in biotechnology has also risen significantly, from 2,000 in 1985 to over 13,000 in 2000 (Walsh et al. 2003: 293). Other countries have witnessed similar trends (American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2007a).