15/01/2002 - Gene-based inventions offer tremendous promise in improving human health and contributing to economic growth. But to deliver on this promise, a fair and effective system of intellectual property protection will remain fundamental. OECD countries want to ensure that the patenting and licensing of genetic inventions contributes positively to new life saving innovation and does not instead discourage researchers from entering fields where genes have already been patented, or where multiple groups are competing to patent the same gene.
AnOECD Workshop on Genetic Inventions, Intellectual Property Rights, and Licensing Practices will examine the benefits and costs of public and private sector strategies for patenting and licensing genetic inventions at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Hannoversche Strasse 28-30, 10115 Berlin on 24-25 January 2002.
Amid ongoing debate about the impact of patenting and licensing on access to new gene-based inventions, a number of interest groups from researchers to doctors and patient groups have signalled concern and sought to cast light on the operation of the current IP system. OECD countries hope to make substantial progress in Berlin to clarify how current licensing practices affect access and thus furnish the debate with much needed substance and solid analysis. The Workshop will bring together experts from business, academia, public and private sector research, government, health care and civil society to examine data on the licensing of genetic inventions, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of certain licensing practices and assess novel strategies (cross-licensing, consortia) that are being developed in response to the proliferation of gene patents.
The findings of the Workshop should increase understanding of the impacts of genetic inventions and help governments, firms and funding agencies to determine how gene-based inventions might best contribute to the public interest.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Bénédicte Callan, OECD Science, Technology and Industry Directorate (tel.  1 45 24 14 67) or Meggan Dissly, OECD Media Relations Division (tel.  1 45 24 80 94) or Ramona Hering, OECD Berlin Centre (tel.  30 288 8 3542).
OECD experts view licensing as key in ensuring genetic inventions benefit public health - Conclusions of the Workshop