The RSC Patent Debate – does chemistry benefit from the patent system?

28 October 2015, London, United Kingdom

Patents are often justified on the basis they provides inventors with an incentive to invest in research and development of new products, and to disclose valuable technical information to the public which would otherwise have remained secret. Innovative products might be costly to create, but once made available to the public can often be readily copied. Many believe that without intellectual property protection there would be an under protection of intellectual products. Patents are published and freely available to the public also constituting a substantive and valuable database of technical and scientific information.

However, arguments have been put forward that not only are many restricted in benefitting from a patent’s contribution to science but also that due to the sheer number of patents innovation has been stifled. Criticism also arises from the ability to set monopoly prices for products which are needed by many. A recent high profile case saw the 2010 Physics Nobel Prize winners refrain from patent protection for graphene, now the subject of thousands of patents and patent applications by other parties not directly involved in their research.

The question remains therefore, does chemistry benefit from the patent system?
The Royal Society of Chemistry

Library, The Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA, United Kingdom

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